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Parking fees will kill my business, says Carlisle gym owner

A Carlisle gym owner claims she would “close within a week” if planned parking charges come into force.

Carlisle gym owner photo
Curves owner Julia Clifford opposes the parking fees

Related: Who is with Willie Whalen on this?

Curves co-owner Julia Clifford has vowed to go to whatever lengths are necessary to try to prevent Cumbria County Council introducing on-street parking charges.

And she is being backed by Willie Whalen, the first county councillor to break ranks and speak out against his own cabinet’s proposals.

The county council has approved plans to introduce on-street parking charges in 11 towns across Cumbria.

A decision on the exact streets involved, when the charges will be implemented, how much they will be and how they will be enforced was scheduled to take place by cabinet last week. It was deferred until next month, to ensure all the details are in place.

Julie founded Curves, a women-only gym in Corporation Road, with sister Jo in 2007.

It offers half-hour workouts and it is this short time frame, coupled with their promise to offer “affordable fitness”, which could see parking charges spell the end for their business.

“This will shut us down within a week,” Julia stated. “I can guarantee that. This is going to hammer us.

“Our members pay £29 a month, and we have held those prices since we opened. People are going to have to pay £1 a time: some of our members come four or five times a week.

“It will cost them £50 a month to come here – I wouldn’t do it.”

Julia has gathered support from members and residents, and spoken to Mr Whalen to ensure she has his backing.

A petition is being drawn up and will be available both in the gym and via the Curves’ Facebook page. Julia hopes to use this to prove to the county council the strength of public opposition.

“I will do whatever it takes,” she insisted. “Even if it means driving stark naked to see Eric Pickles in Westminster or chaining myself to the council doors.”

Labour member Mr Whalen, who sits on both the city and county councils, has criticised the lack of information made available prior to the decision being made.

“I’m most concerned about this,” he said. “I’m quite annoyed because I feel that – as the local councillor – I wasn’t consulted enough to know that this would be put in the way it has been.

“There is a lot of very strong feeling within my ward and I have every sympathy. I will be speaking up for them because they have come to me for my help – whatever way that is, I will do that.”

He continued: “I will put their case for them and fight wholeheartedly for their concerns; they have to do business and live in these areas. There has been a lack of real consultation on the issue.”

He insisted that maintaining the vibrancy of the city centre must be at the forefront of any decision, with an emphasis on encouraging businesses – and not discouraging them.

“With decisions like this we must be very careful and have the electorate with us,” Mr Whalen added. “It is too important to make any kind of rash or irresponsible mistakes.”

Have your say

@big Dave
Parking charges are defiantly not a must.
The disc changing which you say you see is down to poor management/enforcement of the current disc parking scheme.

CCC are intent only using on street parking charges to raise revenue. This is not lawful, Attfield v London Borough of Barnet
para 2 makes interesting reading, along with 38,51,52,61(in particular)and 64. What we have is CCC blatantly stating their intentions to balance the books using on street parking.

Other traffic problems have a solution but CCC do not want to spend any time on it only the Robbing Hood scheme that they have come up with.
A little bit of thought could sort out the traffic flow around the old quarter in Carlisle such as making the whole area one way. West Walls is a nightmare who in CCC thinks that this street is fit for the purpose of two way traffic should not be in their job. Try using Google street view and there is a red truck using it (much smaller than some of the trucks which use it) this makes it unsafe even for pedestrians.

Posted by edd on 22 April 2014 at 14:05

Parking charges are a must. Disc zones do not work. In principal disc zones are a brilliant idea but selfish drivers abuse the system. The town centre streets inc rickergate, corporation rd, castle St etc are used as car parks by shop owners, shop assistants and town centre workers.

The disc zones are not used by genuine shoppers because they can't get spaces for all the parking abuse that goes on.
I know this because I see and witness it happening all day every day. Disc changing is rife.

So bring in parking charges and I guarantee you it will help local businesses not hinder them.

Introducing parking charges will only have an effect on the people who abuse the current system.

And if you really want to know why shops and businesses are struggling, one word.....internet.

Posted by big dave on 19 April 2014 at 00:31

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