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Sunday, 13 July 2014

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Talkin Tarn parking charge rises watered down

Big increases in parking charges at Talkin Tarn country park, near Brampton, have been watered down in the face of public opposition.

Elsie Martlew photo
Elsie Martlew

The Labour administration at Carlisle City Council had been planning to freeze charges at urban car parks while doubling the daily rate at Talkin Tarn.

At present, motorists pay £1 to park there between 10am and 6pm. Outside those times parking is free.

The proposal was to double the day-time fee and to charge 50p between 8am and 10am, and 6pm and 7pm.

But Councillor Elsie Martlew, portfolio holder for environment and transport, told the executive yesterday there had been a change of heart.

She has dropped plans to charge before 10am and after 6pm. And while the daily rate will still double to £2, motorists will be able to park for up to an hour for £1 – long enough for most people to walk around the tarn.

Mrs Martlew told the News & Star the rethink was designed to help regular users.

She said: “We know a lot of people in Brampton go there. We don’t charge for parking at Hammonds Pond or Rickerby Park [in Carlisle] although we do at Bitts Park.

“We are listening. We are in an awful financial position but we’re trying to do our best.”

Conservatives had criticised the proposals, saying they would penalise regular visitors and encourage drivers to park on the main road so creating a traffic hazard.

Longtown Conservative Ray Bloxham said he was “happier” following the changes. But fellow Conservative Judith Prest was still angry.

She said: “It’s discrimination against the rural area where people already pay more in council tax.”

Regular visitors to Talkin Tarn can buy an annual permit. The cost will rise from £30 to £52 but it will be rebranded as a ‘Talkin Tarn Membership’ with other benefits as well as unlimited parking. The new rates apply from April.

The executive also approved increases in other fees, including:

  • Higher charges for allotment holders, hiring sports pitches and rooms in council-owned premises;
  • A 3.8 per cent rise in the charge for dealing with wasp infestations – other pest control fees are frozen and rat control remains free for private households;
  • The charge for removing bulky items of waste goes up from £16 to £17;
  • There is a new charge for replacing lost or damaged wheelie bins – the first time it happens the replacement is free but after that the cost is £20 or £30, depending on the size of bin;
  • A 3.8 per cent increase in the service charge paid by tenants at the Enterprise Centre in James Street;
  • A 4.0 per cent increase in bereavement fees.

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