Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free car parking’s for all year round not just Christmas say Labour

Press Release

Free car parking’s for all year round not just Christmas say Labour

Tory/Liberal ‘pact’ too little to help business in Berwick

Labour group leader Grant Davey has labelled Northumberland County Council promise to ‘relax car parking charges for Christmas’ which won’t provide the support hard pressed businesses are looking for in tough trading conditions. They’ve called for the county council to stop ‘milking motorists’ and to get behind local businesses and back a Labour plan to let local communities decide how they want to ‘set car parking policy’ locally not at county hall in Morpeth.

The Council plan to offer to ‘relax car parking charges in Berwick’ for 8 weeks has been branded as ‘too little and a smokescreen’.

Labour has called for the Liberal run council to ‘introduce free car parking all year round’ as part of a town and parish council traffic management plan decided at local level. The plan would give local traders a direct say in whether car parking charges would be levelled in the locality.

Labour leader Grant Davey said

‘The Liberal/Tory pact to suspend car parking charges for Christmas is a superficial attempt to buy a few day’s good headlines. We’ve put forward a perfectly reasonable proposal to allow local communities to decide if they want to introduce free car parking to meet local needs and when we put forward a motion to full council equalising parking across the county (introducing free car parking), the Tories voted against it. Car parking policy is in a mess across the county and we want to make car park charging a local call not dictated from County Hall. It’s yet another example of two faced policy making from both Liberals and Tories, acting together’.

Labour has previously raised questions about the amount of revenue collected from car parking charges disclosed by the council. For instance, when Labour tabled the motion rejected by Tories and Liberals in coalition two years ago, it was revealed that the council picked up £1.92m from motorists. In the most recent figures revealed by Councillor Tebbutt, Cabinet member for corporate services, he revealed a figure of £4m. That would mean car parking charges would have doubled over two years.  

Labour believes that ‘free car parking is for local determination, not just for Christmas’.

End
Dear Sir,

I find your article Dated Monday 19th November 2012 on the relaxation of car parking charges quite perplexing, with the one time independent now Tory Councillor Gordon Castle and his Leader Peter Jackson, banging on about the necessity to suspend charges because of Christmas.
I wish to remind them and your readers that their interest in the commerce of Berwick and their desire to improve opportunities for Berwick's populous didn't show through when their whole group voted against the Labour motion to equalise parking charges across Northumberland by making all Parking free.

On the second part of your report do any of your readers have a clue what Dougie Watkin is on about? is he simply being anti Scottish  or is he simply being simple?

Regards

Grant Davey,
Leader, Northumberland Labour Group


Calls for festive free parking vetoed by council
The Parade car park in Berwick

Published on Monday 19 November 2012 16:07
CALLS for Northumberland County Council to provide free parking for local residents in the week before Christmas have been rejected after warnings that it could have dire consequences for Berwick which relies so heavily on trade from north of the border.
Conservative councillor Gordon Castle had requested the relaxation of parking charges to encourage Northumberland residents to stock up on last minute Christmas presents in their market towns.
However, the move was blocked by Lib Dem members at the council’s north area committee meeting last week.
Berwick resident Tom Forrester, a Conservative campaigner, said: “Two years ago the county council made the much appreciated move of suspending parking charges in town during the week before Christmas. We were asking them to do the same again in order to put money back into local pockets and reinvigorate local businesses in the run up to Christmas.
“It is very disappointing that this request has been turned down. With the internet and out of town shopping centres, there is so much competition now for where people do their Christmas shopping. It is madness to handicap our market towns by forcing people to pay for the privilege of shopping locally.”
Coun Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland Conservatives, added: “Christmas is a very important time of year for business in Berwick and all our market towns. Free parking will encourage people to do their Christmas shopping locally.”
But Coun Dougie Watkin, Lib Dem member for Norham and Islandshire, believed such a move would have severe implications for Berwick.
He said: “Half of the people who work in Berwick live in Scotland, half of the businesses in Berwick are owned by people living in Scotland and most of the trade in the town comes from Scotland.
“If the Conservatives have their way, what sort of message would Northumberland be sending to half of the people who travel into Berwick every day for work? The Conservative plan is even more ridiculous in the context of Scotland’s referendum on the breakup of the United Kingdom.
I will give the Conservatives this, however – their plan would certainly work wonders for traffic management in Berwick, as half the people working in, visiting and shopping in the town would see the unfairness and head elsewhere.”