‘Give the people room’
Bigger and better parking facilities are urgently needed in Finchley and Whetstone, members of the area's Chamber of Commerce were told on Saturday.
The chairman, Mr Robert Hallam, said that parking restrictions were one of the major problems facing traders, and he forecast that the arrival of traffic wardens in the area was a forerunner of a clearway that would stretch from Golders Green “through our territory” and possibly as far as Luton.
“The only solution is bigger, better parking facilities,” he said, “Car parks are the answer.”
Mr Hallam, speaking at the Chairman's Evening, held at the Robin Hood, Potters Bar, said that Barnet Council had noted the committee's comments on this question, and would help. But they would have to hurry, and money would have to be found.
He referred to the plan for a market in the car park at the Gaumont, North Finchley, and said: “We don't need a Petticoat Lane.”
He also said that value added tax was another problem that would face traders, and urged members to attend the annual meeting on May 2, when Mr Kenneth Baker, Conservative MP for Marylebone, will speak on the subject.
“But I am confident for the immediate future,” he said. “I think you will find that prosperity is ahead.”
Mrs Margaret Thatcher, Education Minister, MP for Finchley and president of the Chamber, replied to Mr Hallam 's speech.
She described today's problems as being very similar to those of the beginning of the century—labour unrest, the Irish question and Women's Lib.
“Rising prices and unemployment are with us the whole time,” she said. “But they don't become any easier to solve, nor businesses any easier to run.”
Mrs Thatcher spoke of the “swing of the pendulum” towards supermarkets, but said there was a demand for a large number of smaller shops which could offer a personal service.
“You know your customers and your customers know you,” she said. “I hope the Budget will please those in business and help business to flourish and prosper.”
Councillor Frank Gibson, vice-president of the Chamber, supporting Mrs Thatcher, told members: “You have the edge on the big fellows by the personal service that you can give.”
The council were considering an extensive car park in the Lodge Lane area—which he hoped would become multi-storey.
Councillor Gibson said the increases in rates—by 7p domestic and 8p commercial—had put the council in a dilemma.
“We have to keep the level of services that you are entitled to have, and keep the rates down,” he said.
But Barnet's rates were not as high as in other boroughs.
Dinner was followed by dancing to the Tommy Draper Trio.