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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Carlisle businessman's anger over parking charges

Planned on-street parking charges in Carlisle have been described as “pointless” by a city centre businessman.

Grant Etheridge photo
Grant Etheridge

Related: On-street parking charges: Don't drive our recovery out of town

Grant Etheridge, manager of Abbey Street-based Northern Vacuums, said he is “absolutely, totally against” Cumbria County Council proposals to introduce on-street parking.

Where and how charges will be implemented in 11 towns across the county is not yet clear after the decision was deferred until next month.

Mr Etheridge could not hide his disgust at the proposal.

He said: “It’s pointless and it’s hard enough anyway. We are trying to live in this market and parking charges are not going to help at all.

“We want people to go to the town and spend money with us – I’m totally against the charges.

“We never had a word off anybody at the council but they should have come round and said ‘this is happening, what are your thoughts?’.”

Northern Vacuums has been in business in Carlisle for 60 years and moved into their current showrooms in 1981.

Mr Etheridge joined Curves gym co-owner Julia Clifford in condemning the planning charges.

Willie Whalen became the first county councillor to break ranks and speak out against the proposals.

Mr Etheridge said: “I don’t think it will be the death of the business but if it’s not going to help then what’s the point?

“If somebody had said ‘this is how it’s going to help’ I would have listened – but it’s not.”

Mr Whalen criticised the lack of information made before the council decision was made, and admitted he was annoyed at having not been consulted.

He said: “There is a lot of strong feeling within my ward and I have every sympathy.”

Conservative Carlisle City Councillor James Bainbridge said that the charges, combined with cuts to bus services, would result in customers shopping online or in retail parks such as Gretna Gateway.

Business leaders have launched a petition against the charges, saying they will hit shops and town centres already in “crisis”.

See tomorrow’s Cumberland News for more

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