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Is nothing sacred?

The City of Westminster already charges over the odds for parking, but in a clear bid to lose friends, the council has managed to put the wind up local churches by announcing plans to start charging people for parking their cars in the street on Sundays.

3,500 outraged churchgoers took to the streets last week to protest against the proposals. While the council maintains the proposals are intended to ease congestion in central London, many suspect its a crafty wheeze to drum up funds.

'Our church plays an essential role in our local community, both for our members and for those who depend on us for help,' said Father William Pearsall of Farm Street Catholic Church.

'Our volunteer community activities are really valuable and would present a huge loss to the local community if these plans affect our volunteers.'

Councilor Lee Rowley, Westminster's cabinet member for parking, has defended the move, saying: We of course recognise the place of the church in many people’s lives and the local community, but we have a duty to everyone who lives, works or visits the heart of the capital to ensure they have a reasonable expectation of finding a place to park, he said.

'In some parts of the West End, research shows that it is now more difficult to park on a Sunday and on weekday evenings than it is during the working week.

'It is key is that the solution is led by the facts – only this will ensure we have parking policies fit for the next decade.'

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