London's councils say they expect to need to find cuts and savings of at least £526m next year.Read more
Political Editor, BBC London
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|Elected in 2018 38||Total councillors 38||Change+6|
|Elected in 2018 25||Total councillors 25||Change-5|
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Local Democracy Reporting Service
Residents and businesses are furious over a “punishing” parking scheme they fear could hit visitors and customers.
Parking restrictions in part of North Finchley have been extended to Sundays and will now run well into the evening due to the roll-out of an “experimental” controlled parking zone (CPZ) from tomorrow.
The CPZ, covering streets near High Road from Torrington Park to Derwent Crescent, was designed to protect residents’ parking from visitors attending the newly built St Barnabas Church at Solar House.
But residents are angry about the new hours of operation, which run from 09:00 to 21:30 all week – a big hike on the previous hours of 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Saturday.
Grandmother Andrea Kon said the new rules mean her grandchildren, aged four and two, will She said: “This cannot go ahead – it will affect everyone’s lives. It’s not been thought out at all."
Stephen Wells, who manages White Rose Motors in High Road, suggested the church should not have been given planning permission if it had such a big impact on the area.
He said: “Why should everyone suffer? It is discriminatory on a certain area. No-one goes to church Monday to Friday in the evening.”
A Barnet Council spokesman said: “North Finchley is a very busy part of our borough, with a long-established CPZ.“We have been informed by the church that there will be regular weekend and evening events in the newly built St Barnabas Church at Solar House.
“Local residents have raised concerns relating to the operation of the church and so by preventing church visitors from parking in nearby roads at these times, we are protecting parking spaces for residents and their visitors.”
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Barnet Council is taking urgent action to get its finances under control after revealing its budget gap is expected to soar to £62m by 2025.
At a meeting of the policy and resources committee last night, Labour councillors called for an overhaul of financial reporting after the latest medium-term forecasts turned out to be significantly worse than those made before the local elections on 3 May.
Just three months ago, the council predicted a balanced budget for the current financial year and a gap of just under £6m between spending and resources by 2020.
But the latest forecast shows the budget gap for the coming financial year is expected to be £9.5m, climbing to more than £19m by 2020.
Labour called for the borough's strategic finance team to be brought back in house instead of being outsourced to private service provider Capita.
West Finchley councillor Ross Houston said: "We went through a local election thinking council finances were under control, and, quite clearly, they were not under control - and, quite frankly, I think the public had a right to be informed of that before the election."
Political blogger John Dix, who lives in New Barnet, also expressed incredulity that officers and councillors were not aware how bad the situation had become. He said: "You sat on this committee six weeks before the election and you had no clue as to the problems? You are right, things do change - but hang on a minute, all that huge difference did not crop up in the six weeks before year-end?
"Voters hold you accountable, but are you getting the information to make those decisions?"
Barnet Council's director of finance Kevin Bartle said officers were getting a "clearer position" on the financial situation in early May - after the local elections had been held.
Mr Dix suggested the council adopt a financial reporting system that is updated on a monthly or weekly basis to give a more accurate picture of its position.
The business planning report states that: "Chief Officers are continuing to work to mitigate this pressure (the £9.5 million funding gap) and recognise their responsibilities to do so under the authority's financial regulations.
"Additional possible actions include control and review of all agency placements and a potential vacancy freeze within the organisation."
In response to Labour's request, Conservative members of the committee said options to bring the strategic finance team in house would be included in the budget update at the next committee, which is due to meet in July.
The Prime Minster has tweeted her congratulations to some of the London boroughs which has seen success for the Conservatives.
Theresa May congratulated the Tories in Hillingdon for increasing their majority, which she described as a "testament to your record of delivering great local services."
She also congratulated councillors in Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet for "a great result".
In Barnet, former Labour councillor Adam Langleben voiced his anger at the impact which the row over anti-Semitism had on his party's fortunes.
After losing his seat in West Hendon, Mr Langleben tweeted: "We must NEVER have another election like this. No community group should have their vote dictated by their safety. That should shame us."
He won support from Labour MP and Corbyn critic Wes Streeting, who told him: "I am so so sorry. This defeat wasn't yours."
Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis said voters were being turned off by "hard abuse from some of the hard left".
He said Labour "clearly have got" a problem with anti-Semitism which they "are just not dealing with".