Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar residents feel let down by plans to scrap Cockfosters car park

PUBLISHED: 09:10 03 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:00 03 August 2020

Cockfosters station. Supplied by Kate Bishop

Cockfosters station. Supplied by Kate Bishop


Plans by Transport for London to scrap Cockfosters tube station car park – to make way for flats – have not been well received by commuters in Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar.

Cockfosters station. Supplied by Kate BishopCockfosters station. Supplied by Kate Bishop

Passengers in the commuter belt south of Hatfield – which includes Brookmans Park, North and South Mymms, Welham Green and Potters Bar – often find parking by the first tube station into London, as they say it is more convenient and cheaper.

If the space was instead used to build 370 homes, with 40 per cent affordable, it could affect those who park and ride to London.

As Tiziana Moran, a member of Potters Bar Community Group, explains: “I find the tube line more reliable, convenient, safer and cheaper for me when I travel to London.

“If commuters are unable to use the tube at Cockfosters because there is no car parking, they will use other local train line stations where there is already limited car spaces and where trains are already full.”

Another resident said she drives to Cockfosters because it is £9.40 to London while it is £20.20 via Potters Bar.

“I work part time so I don’t save on an annual ticket and park on a residential street,” Nicola Wallace said.

“I probably won’t be able to if the car park closes as everyone will do it and there’s not that many places as it is. No doubt where I park would become residents only.”

“It might be when everyone starts parking on the street and blocks the road though. Depending on where you manage to get a space it can be a five or 10 minute walk.”

Philip Kurland, from North Mymms, echoed this and said: “Cockfosters is the closest underground station to our house and the drive to the station is approximately 15 minutes by car. For me, a necessary journey, as I am unable to use buses – that give me a direct connection. Even a combination of bus routes would require a drive to a bus stop.

“I wouldn’t consider parking in the local streets around the station. Chiefly because it would be inconsiderate to the residents, and definitely not a preferred option any way due to parking restrictions already in place, which I have no doubt would become even more severe.”

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For others like Lise Miles it is a question of traffic increasing, which she thinks is already “ridiculously heavy” around Cockfosters and High Barnet coming from Potters Bar.

“The disruption to the traffic along Stag Hill, Cockfosters Road and Cockfosters High Road will be catastrophic,” she said.

“Surely there is an expectation that commuters and visitors to the area coming from the M25, A1(M) or M1 might need to park in Cockfosters.

“All TFL can see are pounds in their coffers whereas the rest of us can see the very real picture – inconvenienced residents, congested roads, poorly considered commuters and very poor financial management by TFL!

“The problems with traffic will be compounded if the flats planned for High Barnet tube station and Arnos Grove station go ahead. It simply beggars belief!”

A Brookmans Park resident, Jo Haynes, said it is not convenient for commuting but: “I have many times used the effective park and ride at Cockfosters tube is cheaper, especially with children, and runs when the train line isn’t working.”

However Chris Cook, of Potters Bar Radio, makes the point that housing and development is needed when people are faced with a crisis. Research by the National Housing Federation has shown that 8.4 million people in England are living in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home.

Chris said: “They don’t understand how TfL operates, they simply don’t want the buildings. They say it’s over development because they can’t get doctors and dentists appointments but go quiet when it’s suggested that this sort of person would move in and set up practices. They prefer cars to people.

“By the time you’ve driven from Potters Bar to Cockfosters, and parked, there isn’t much saving. Plus, it’s far slower going into London. Yes, there’s the loss of car parking which is odd but on the plus side it starts to address the housing crisis.

“There’s no question some people do drive to Cockfosters but it doesn’t really make sense. The road is single carriageway and prone to getting gridlocked if there’s an accident. That’s surely enough to discourage most casual users.”

Ben Tate, on behalf of Connected Living London – which TfL is part of – said: “We are committed to engaging with the community to ensure we can adapt and reflect their views as best we can. “During the last year we held multiple events and an online consultation in relation to our proposal at Cockfosters, where all interested parties were encouraged to have their say. While the majority of the feedback we received came from the local community we also received comments from those who commute to and from the area.”

To achieve engagement, TfL advertised the development with posters inside the station, emailed registered Oyster users who use the station regularly and held meetings with the public on the plans.

For more on the development, go to givemyview.com/cockfosters. There is also a campaign to stop the plans at savecockfosters.co.uk.

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