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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Cumbria council could take over parking enforcement

Parking enforcement across Cumbria could be brought under county council control following a review of how new on-street parking charges will be controlled.

Cumbria County Council logo
Cumbria County Council logo

Currently the role is carried out on behalf of Cumbria County Council by wardens working for district councils across the county.

The review follows the controversial move to introduce charges for on-street parking in several towns including Whitehaven, Workington, Penrith and Keswick as well as Carlisle.

However the decision has proved unpopular with several campaigns set up across the county – including the News & Star’s Keep Our Streets Free campaign.

Opponents were hoping that district councils would refuse to collect charges, offering a loophole.

A county council spokesman shattered that hope, telling the News & Star: “The county council is reviewing how the enforcement of on-street parking will work and has been doing so for a number of months. That review is considering whether we will bring the service in-house.”

He added that currently it was carried out by the county council in the area covered by South Lakeland Council but in the rest of the county it was enforced by district council staff.

“Ultimately it will be enforced,” he insisted.

Three Keswick town councillors wrote to Alan Smith, leader of Allerdale council, urging him to resist the move.

Tony Lywood was one of the signatories and said he did not think the changes would work because they represented a significant change to wardens’ terms and conditions.

He added: “The contract that Allerdale has with the county council does not mention on-street parking. We have sent the letter to Alan Smith and we are in contact with Allerdale through our local councillors.”

Mr Lywood said that he hoped their views would be taken into consideration and added: “I cannot say what they will do but I hope they will listen to what we have said. I don’t think they are in favour of it either – it’s an extra tax on Keswick.”

Lorraine Taylor also signed the letter and said: “These parking spaces are used by local people either from Keswick or the surrounding villages doing local shopping like collecting prescriptions and going to the bank.

“If these measures go ahead it will cause considerable inconvenience and could force people to park in more inappropriate areas of the town. This is the thin end of the wedge and we must oppose it.”

Denstone Kemp, who is also a member of the town council, said: “I believe these charges are challengeable in law but the recourse is to the high court and the expense of such a challenge would be prohibitive.

“We are therefore suggesting that Allerdale Council join us in opposition to the proposals.

“These measures are unpopular with the voters and have been opposed by every town council in the area.”

Julia Clifford, who runs a women’s only gym in Carlisle’s Corporation Road, said that once the charges were introduced her business would close “within a week”.

She added: “This is going to kill Carlisle city centre. People are going to go to places like the Metro Centre where they don’t have to pay to park.”

Ms Clifford said that the charges were being introduced because the county council was receiving less funding, adding: “It’s an easy way to make money.

Have your say

Oh dear a comment by Andy shows a man blinded by fervent support for a political party. In the real world if political parties stopped chopping and changing decisions to satisfy edicts handed down from on high I am sure this country would save hundreds of millions. I mean let's face it one council makes what it thinks is the right decision then when a new council takes over they change that decision, this happens not only on parking but in just about every issue that comes to our notice. At the end of the day in the real world it's not really about economics it's about politics and the ability to retain power. Politicians generally start out with an aim to help us all but sadly soon get sucked into the power game where retaining power and generally towing a party line whether you agree or not. The days of politicians who dare to speak out in an independently minded way has sadly disappeared and have been replaced by automaton councillors and MPs who just say yes. Politics sadly has disintegrated to a level where public apathy in politicians and government is at an all time high and let's be honest if you love in the North you really don't count anyway .

Posted by Anon on 2 July 2014 at 10:54

It's the small traders I feel sorry for. I will only shop where there is free parking so it looks like the supermarkets win. Motorists pay too much anyway - we pay road tax and pay with our wages which have already been taxed; we pay inflated insurance costs, running costs and fuel which is also heavily taxed. Motorists should not be prepared to pay to park as well, the government makes enough out of us!

Posted by Joy on 2 July 2014 at 10:28

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