CHURCHGOERS in the West End of London will have to pay as much as £4.40 per hour to park on Sunday afternoons, after new charges were approved by Westminster City Council.
The new charges, which will affect Soho, Marylebone, and Mayfair, were approved at a council meeting on Monday. Churches Together in Westminster submitted a petition against them (News, 29 July), and church and Salvation Army representatives packed the public gallery at the meeting.
One of the churchwardens of St George’s, Hanover Square, Michael Beckett, attended the meeting. He said that the charges, which will operate from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays from 1 December, would have a big impact on churches, as well as shops and restaurants. “The council did agree to put back the start times by an hour, which will help us. . . There has been enormous opposition, but the council haven’t listened. It could destroy the local economy.”
Churches are considering fielding candidates in local elections in 2014.