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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Thousands oppose street parking charges in Cumbrian town

Nearly 3,000 people have opposed proposals to introduce on street parking charges in Cockermouth.

Jonty Chippendale photo
Jonty Chippendale

Members of Cockermouth Chamber of Trade handed over a 2,744 name petition to county councillors Eric Nicholson and Alan Kennon showing the wealth of opposition to the proposal.

Cumbria County Council want to introduce the on-street parking charges across the county to help save £80m over three years.

It believes the move could raise £700,000 a year to plug a hole in its finances.

The petition will be presented to the county council’s cabinet at a meeting on January 30 before it goes in front of the full council when a decision will be made.

Jonty Chippendale, chairman of the Chamber of Trade said: “We very grateful to shoppers for taking the trouble to sign the petition.

“In truth it has been quite easy to gather the signatures as everybody is so annoyed at such a stupid suggestion.

“The county council say they are consulting but it won’t be much of a consultation if they go against the overwhelming majority of the electorate.

“This does not just apply to Cockermouth but other towns that will be affected. We do not want to see boarded up towns and empty streets as we have seen elsewhere in the country.”

Chamber member Sue Hannah, owner of Limelighting, said: “I am very impressed with the support that has been shown to us.

“Around 50 per cent of our customers come from surrounding villages and many of them don’t want to do an hours shopping they just want one or two things.

“If they had to pay to do that they would stop using the town centre and then get out of the habit of coming.

“The county council said it would save money in the short term but five years down the line they would have to spend millions trying to revive the town centres in one way or another.”

Mr Nicholson said: “It costs £350,000 for enforcement measures so we are looking at cost effective ways to make savings.

“Personally I think it is not the way forward and the petition shows the people of Cockermouth think the same way because it is detrimental to any business.”

Mr Kennon added: “Other county councillors feel the same way and none of them want to see charges brought into their town centres.”

The county council have been investigating charges in areas with towns and populations similar to Cumbria.

Areas to have already introduced charges include Durham, Newcastle, Harrogate and Lancaster.

A county council spokesperson said: “We will be considering the petition, together with all the other responses to our budget consultation.”

The consultation finishes on January 20.

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