Businesses were accused of abusing the council’s parking system after private schools and estate agents were found to have many more permits than is allowed.

It was revealed one area in Wimbledon Village has six businesses that possess more than two permits, which Merton Council is only supposed to issue if the company can prove they are essential for their business.

One of the businesses is a private school, another a “software solutions company”, and the remaining four are estate agents.

One of them, Kinleigh, Folklard and Hayward, has four members of staff but has 11 permits in Hillside ward alone, a council meeting heard.

The information about parking in Hillside ward was discovered by Councillor Suzanne Evans, who was trying to block a policy to issue a new type of parking permit introduced by Andrew Judge, Merton’s cabinet member for regeneration.

Trade permits, which will cost £900 a year, will allow a business to park anywhere on Merton’s roads, compared to the current business permit which costs £752 to parking within a particular parking zone in Wimbledon (£606 outside of Wimbledon).

At the Civic Centre on July 5, Coun Evans said: “There is a huge amount of pressure of residents who can’t park anywhere near their homes despite having a resident’s permit. This permit is a fast-track to more abuse."

"It is not true hat parking services is not aware of any complaints. I have asked for a list of parking permits that are issued in my ward. I have distributed that to you. There is abuse going on."

Lynne Gordon, who lives in Compton Road, added: “Our parking permits have increased in price by some 400 per cent in the past six years and increasingly we find that we are not able to park in our own streets.

“There has been a flagrant disregard in following the council’s own codes of practice, which needs to be thoroughly investigated and accounted for.”

Merton Council’s own rules for issuing business permits says: “Business permits can be issued to businesses providing they can justify they are essential for their business.

There is a limit of two permits per business due to the pressure on parking spaces within controlled parking zones.

“Businesses that already have access to off-street parking spaces for two or more vehicles will not be eligible for permits.”

Both Coun Judge and Chris Lee, the director of environment and regeneration, said they did not know business permits were being over-issued and pledged to investigate the matter.

Businesses with more than two business parking permits in Hillside ward:

The Study Preparatory School 27
Foxtons 13
Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward 11
Lauristons Ltd 7
Jackson South West Ltd 6
Brinkleys Estate Agents 4
Zircadian Ltd 4

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