Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more


by Gareth Wilson on 22 February, 2013


8504380134_9f503a6451_m[1]An attempt by Lib Dem councillors to stop charges for Ely car parks being introduced this year was defeated by the ruling Conservatives on East Cambridgeshire District Council.

The proposal, put forward by East Cambs Lib Dem leader Gareth Wilson at the council meeting on 21st February 2013, would have removed the proposal from this year’s council budget.

But Conservative councillors failed to listen, and instead pressed ahead with their proposal to start charging for parking in July 2013. 

Cllr Wilson said: “We should not introduce charges in the car parks the District Council owns, without proper plans for on-street parking and the big supermarket car parks.  In addition to the car parks at Tesco and Waitrose, last year saw the new Sainsburys car park and in one month’s time we will see one for Aldi.  How can we expect our traders in the City centre to compete?

“It is suggested that we have a one hour free period.  However many of our City traders run cafes and restaurants.  Surely we want people in Ely to enjoy their stay and not rush in and out?  Conservative councillors have not taken into account those residents who live near the centre of Ely, nor part time workers some possibly on the minimum wage.

“The Conservative proposals appear to have overlooked the costs of introducing car parking charges, such as emptying the machines, counting the coins and banking them.  It also fails to include the cost of the signage that would be required, the installation of machines and the subsequent maintenance of them.”

Cllr Neil Morrison pointed out that there were 12 empty shops already in Ely City centre, and parking charges would only make things worse.

On a recorded vote only one Conservative councillor abstained.  The rest voted for the introduction of parking charges, with Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors voting against.

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