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Don’t mess with Eric Pickles on charges

He’s a big bluff lad, who knows his mind, insists on rules being kept and is just the kind of chap you’d want in your corner in a dispute.

Keep Our Streets Free Logo

Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, doesn’t like to be messed with – particularly on issues of parking charges – which makes him pretty key to the struggle in Cumbria right now.

He has banned CCTV spy cars being used to catch illegal parkers – apart from at the school gates – in underhand efforts to collect fines designed to boost local councils’ budgets.

“CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street, raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls,” he says.

“Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines undermine the High Street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term.”

Ring any bells? His statement should be sounding alarms at Cumbria County Council, whose reasons for charging for on-street parking have veered this way and that, consistently, between being necessary for paying for frontline services, compensating for government cuts to funding traffic management – such as installing the new parking meters we’ve been managing very well without.

So hard up is the council, it has decided to spend at least £10m on swanky new offices for itself – ironically, built on a car park in Carlisle. And if that project stays within budget, a lot of people will be chewing on a lot of hats for a very long time.

Mr Pickles is also giving residents and businesses affected by on-street charges the right to demand a review of parking in their area. They can challenge meters, expensive permits, the use of yellow lines and unwanted fees – and parking guidance will be reformed so it is less “heavy-handed” with motorists.

Looks very much like the fight in this county to keep our streets free could be a long way from lost yet.

Have your say

So Eric doesn't like councils raising money for themselves through CCTV and on street parking etc? But obviously he thinks it's perfectly alright for PRIVATE hospital trusts to charge visitors patients and nurses alike to park their car to get treatment/visit sick loved ones/and go to work! Double standards!

Posted by squidgybo on 7 July 2014 at 11:48

Very clever people in CCC! where are vehicles supposed to park if they remove this car park? How can people use off street parking more sensibly if there is a reduction in that available.
There will be no alarm bells ringing in CCC as they are ignoring everyone who has anything sensible to say regarding this ill thought out robbing hood scheme.
It took CCC a good few months to start stating that the need for the highway robbery machines was a necessity for relieving or preventing congestion of traffic. This only after months of the blatant cheek by messrs Young and Little in clearly stating their intention was to use the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to raise revenue.
The RTRA 1984 does not authorise an authority (ie CCC) to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes funded by the monies raised through the operation of parking places.

I know a number of us have written to Mr Pickles from Cumbria regarding this blatant mis-use of this law.
May be its about time more people contacted him @ Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government email him at
Its about time CCC got real and started to listen to the residents and traders of Cumbria.

Posted by edd on 27 June 2014 at 14:22

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