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Monday, 24 November 2014

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On-street parking charges: Local committees support not needed, says Cumbria council

On-street parking charges can still be brought in even without the support of the committees tasked with implementing them, Cumbria County Council has warned.

Martin Stephenson photo
Martin Stephenson

The authority spoke out to clarify the situation after Conservative councillor James Airey warned the Eden committee – tasked with identifying possible locations and prices for the controversial new charges – wouldn’t cooperate.

The chairman of that committee, Conservative Appleby councillor Martin Stephenson, told the News & Star the charges, which will be brought in at 11 locations across the county, were “anti-town centres and detrimental for economic viability”.

A county council spokesman said legally the charges could be implemented even if Eden’s local committee doesn’t agree to take part, although no formal refusal has yet been submitted.

Mr Stephenson said the Eden committee would be playing no part in the charges.

“The Conservative group are opposed to the implementation of parking charges in Penrith. We have the power to object and that is what we are doing. We will not be taking part in this it will have to be implemented by the [county] council,” he said.

“They will have a significant impact on businesses in the town and that is what we have serious concerns about. We want to stand up for the people who do not agree with them.”

He said: “What we have done is give the six local committees the chance to engage in the process and get involved in workshops to help find suitable locations for the charges. Eden are one that hasn’t engaged in that. The cabinet’s preferred approach would be for the local committee to get involved and help shape the local plans.

“It doesn’t mean that parking charges would not be enforced in Penrith or Eden. We want them to be the body to implement them however, it will still be constitutionally possible to do this via other possibilities. We feel the local committees have an important role in all of this.”

Eric Nicholson, chairman of the Allerdale local committee, said their members would be making a decision on the matter at their next meeting, but could not comment any further.

However, Cyril Weber, chairman of the Carlisle local committee, said they would not be following the lead of Eden and would be implementing the charges as planned.

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