Fairness required in parking charge

I MUST reply to the misleading statements issued by Coun Tebbutt regarding my group’s proposals on car park management.

In any strategy on car parking there should be clear principles that the prime aims are to have effective traffic management, to reduce congestion and to support the local economy.

It seems to me that the Liberal Democrat run Northumberland County Council does not have these clear objectives in mind as its sole thought is to increase revenues from charging for car parking, wherever it can get away with it.

Why else would the council impose charging on Sundays and bank holidays, for example?

The main priority of the Conservatives is to actually open up all of the towns in our county as much as possible.

We think that it is wrong to charge on Sundays and bank holidays.

We have been proposing that all residents in Northumberland are given access to free parking periods through a county-wide shoppers’ pass.

And we believe that charges should not be levied in any Northumberland town where the council controls less than 200 car parking spaces, like Cramlington.

Instead of being considered as a cash cow by the Lib Dems, Northumberland County Council will have to realise that car parking management is about supporting the local economy.

The fairness argument needs to be framed not about imposing new charges but in sensibly reducing the burden of charging in other areas.

In these difficult times we all have to be aware just how fragile many of our local businesses are and the competitive pressures that they have to deal with from other areas.

COUN PETER JACKSON

Leader

Northumberland Conservatives