A historic church in Hatch End is gathering a petition against parking restrictions that its clergy fear could threaten its future.

The Parish of St Anselm's Church claims the new controlled parking zone in Westfield Park is putting people off booking weddings and funerals.

One art class has already cancelled its £6,000-a-year booking at the church, which needs to raise at least £40,000-a-year to cover its mandatory precept to the Diocese of London.

Last year, the church's income fell short of its costs, forcing it to dip into its reserves.

Father Clive Pearce, who has been a clergyman at the church for 40 years, said: “I’m not being melodramatic when I say this is a major concern.

“These restrictions are a major challenge for us and it is important we keep our income afloat.”

Father Pearce wants to have one parking bay moved to stop the entrance to the 19th Century church being blocked during events.

Parish administrator Gillian Whitehead says a number of people who  have viewed the church for potential weddings have raised parking as an issue since the restrictions were brought in last week.

The zones were introduced to stop commuters parking in residential streets and walking to nearby Hatch End railway station.

The road is restricted to permit holders only between 10am and 11am, and 3pm and 4pm, between Mondays and Saturdays.

She said: “We’re one of the only roads in the area where this is enforced Saturdays as well. It’s causing problems for our coffee mornings and people are being put off using the place for funerals and weddings.”

The church is now gathering a petition calling for a review of the restrictions, introduced by Harrow Council.

Council leader Councillor Susan Hall said: “I can see why they’re concerned but they are near a main line station and there are plenty of other churches and temples inside CPZs.

“I accept this may affect their finances but we’re in a difficult position and there is other parking in the area.

“I have had a meeting with them and promised that if we get back in after the elections there is no question that there will be a review in six to nine months.”