Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Represent us on parking charges

On-street car parking charges in Carlisle lurched closer this week. County councillors representing Carlisle agreed to introduce the scheme which has caused widespread outrage and opposition across Cumbria.

I agree with many who predict the scheme will not bring in as much money as predicted and that it could deal a severe blow to the viability of our shopping centres.

Allerdale and Eden councils have both said they will oppose the plans and there was hope that Carlisle’s local committee would follow suit.

But the vote was nine in favour, eight against, with two abstentions.

The two who declined to vote for or against were independents Robert Betton and Bill Graham.

Both have spoken out against the charges in the past.

But both argue that if they had opposed again, the scheme would have gone back to the executive committee and been approved again, so there was no point in maintaining opposition.

The point here is to make the point. To stand up for what you believe in. To follow up what you say with action.

Surely this is a question that deserves and needs a yes/no answer and not a petty I’m not going to vote either way?

Perhaps, after listening to the comments of the people in their wards and walking round their streets, knocking on doors to get opinions on the issue, both councillors came to the conclusion that most people were not bothered whether they voted for or against parking charges.

Perhaps they were told that speaking out against the plans was enough.

I doubt that is the view of their neighbourhoods.

Politicians of all colours and at all levels have to take tough, often unpalateable and unpopular decisions.

They have to show leadership.

This is especially so at a time when they are struggling to find the finances to maintain services in the face of severe government cutbacks.

There have been several unpopular and downright mystifying decisions made on our behalf in recent months.

On-street car parking charges and the removal of playgrounds being just two.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be confronted and that the strength of opposition should not be voiced.

Radical ideas can be overturned, or at least modified. Changes can be made. It doesn’t always happen instantly.

When we vote for a councillor or an MP we do so in the hope and trust that they will do their best to represent us.

That they will vote to reflect our hopes and feelings.

We don’t vote for them to sit on their hands and have no influence whatsoever.

Especially on an issue as important as this and with such potentially far-reaching consequences.

It’s still not too late to oppose the plans. It’s still far too early to throw in the towel.

Have your say

Parking is far too expensive all over Cumbria.

Posted by Henry Mackereth on 2 March 2015 at 18:29

Well said.The Independent Councillors are correct to show what is going on inside the council.Maybe a few less of these yes men would make the cost of running the county a bit easier,cheaper, and more transparent.One council for the county is plenty.

Posted by Kenny Simpson on 8 November 2014 at 21:53

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