Frustrated South London workers are facing hefty fines and fear losing customers over controversial parking restrictions for a new football stadium next door.

Between 9.30am to 9.30pm on match days, visitors must pay to park on streets surrounding AFC Wimbledon’s stadium on Plough Lane.

Drivers slapped with parking tickets face fines of up to £110 – slashed to £55 if paid in 14 days.

Wandsworth Times: Tina Henderson from Lark on Garratt LaneTina Henderson from Lark on Garratt Lane (Image: Charlotte Lillywhite)

The restrictions aim to stop football fans overwhelming the area but Earlsfield locals say most stadium-goers use public transport and that they’re bearing the brunt of the restrictions instead.

Businesses on Garratt Lane feel “punished” and told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the rules are confusing but heavily enforced, leaving unwitting customers with fines.

Mr Sherwani, who owns Quality Cleaners on Garratt Lane and did not wish to give his first name, makes deliveries to prevent customers being fined and not returning.

The 65-year-old explained he can’t afford a business permit and is forking out £55 after being fined for briefly parking outside his business without a ticket last week.

Wandsworth Times: Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, on November 7Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, on November 7 (Image: Charlotte Lillywhite)

He said: “Sometimes I deliver to [customers], I offer them services – what can I do? I have to run a business…  if they get a £55 ticket, what’s the point of spending £20, £30 with me?”

He added: “They will probably stop coming in.”  He continued: “On event days it’s getting really hard for a lot of people you see, it’s difficult, sometimes you don’t know it’s an event day.”  Chloe Garvey, 22, said she has been fined up to roughly £400 since starting at charity Fara on Garratt Lane in February – largely due to confusion about when the restrictions apply.

She said the paper signs “fly off and people will park and not realise”.

Ms Garvey, from Mitcham, said: “Especially people that don’t live round here who don’t know the area at all, they’re just passing through. I think it is a bit ridiculous, mainly for us people who work here and don’t have business permits.”  She added: “People get tickets outside from just coming in here for five minutes, talking to us and dropping off their donations… they’ll say to us next time they come in and quickly drop off [donations]: ‘I’m really sorry but last time I got a ticket.'”

Local Tina Henderson, who manages Lark on Garratt Lane, said the restrictions had left a “bitter taste” for residents and businesses who rely on street parking as there’s no nearby car park.

She said customers get parking tickets on match days so “they get burnt fingers and they won’t come back”, adding that “residents are just really fed up with it”.  Ms Henderson said: “We want to create local business because that’s what people want, but then on the other hand the council are going: ‘No you can’t do that, you can’t park there, you can’t do this.’ "They really are punishing us and I think the only reason is because it’s a really good money-spinner, the income.”  She added: “Most of the signs that have been put up have been ripped down anyway so there’s no real permanent information and yet there’s no thought, there’s no process, which is a shame.”

A consultation earlier this year revealed 48per cent of 736 respondents wanted the restrictions to be limited – 24pc said they should be removed.

Resident Jo Lewis told the council’s transport committee on November 3 parking on match days “becomes a nightmare”.

She said: “Customers find it less attractive to visit the wide array of shops on offer on Garratt Lane when matches are on because it becomes impossible to park, house visits between friends becomes a headache, children’s tea parties after school impossible.”

The committee voted to keep the restrictions but to investigate options to limit them in future.

A Wandsworth Council spokesperson said: “These controls were introduced in October 2021 following consultation with all residents and businesses in the area and are designed to protect local people’s and businesses’ parking spaces from an influx of football fans on match days.

“The controls are in place only when AFC Wimbledon play at home and to assist residents and businesses.

"The council has created a specific webpage with details of all their home fixtures along with a link to a digital calendar website which allows this information to be downloaded to mobile devices and tablets.

“Following a fresh round of public consultation, we are now considering options to reduce the hours of operation on match days and will come forward with some recommendations in the new year.”