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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Hundreds sign Cumbrian parking charges petition within hours

A new petition against council plans to introduce on-street parking charges collected more than 300 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Heidi Halliday photo
Heidi Halliday

Cumbria County Council has decided to abolish disc zones and bring in on-street charges in 11 towns and cities including Carlisle, Cockermouth, Keswick, Maryport, Whitehaven and Workington.

The council is looking to save millions and councillors approved a controversial package of measures last month.

Campaigners now believe residents and traders in parts of the Lake District could also be hit.

Heidi Halliday, a county councillor in Ambleside, launched her online ‘Say No To Car Parking Charges’ petition. Within a day it had attracted 340 signatures.

She said: “The situation in Ambleside is complicated. We’ve recently had plans for a 14,000sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket passed next to Hayes Garden World. Part of the application is for 142 car parking spaces and they are going to be free for up to two hours.

“With the introduction of on-street car parking charges too it is going to have an impact. If people are going to be faced with paying to use local shops people will take advantage of the free option being offered.

“Ambleside has never had a supermarket of that size before.”

She is also concerned that the introduction of the charges will also impact on those locals from nearby rural areas who have to travel to access vital services and businesses.

“There are areas that don’t have their own banks, post offices and such like. People who live there have to travel to access them. Cars in areas like this are a necessity, not a luxury,” she said. “Tourists choose to park in longer stay car parks when they visit. This takes money from local people, people who pay council tax, road tax and some are saying this could be viewed as a tax on their shopping.”

Liberal Democrat Mrs Halliday is calling on the authority to ask local communities across the county to generate bespoke solutions to the issue.

“Different areas will have different issues,” she said.

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