Nobody has a parking plan
PUBLISHED: 11:22 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 13:54 04 May 2010
IT is, of course, good news that the two warring political factions on East Cambridgeshire District Council are now talking to each other and are agreed on the need for a commuter car park near the railway station. I do not, however, feel that the Ely Tra
IT is, of course, good news that the two warring political factions on East Cambridgeshire District Council are now talking to each other and are agreed on the need for a commuter car park near the railway station. I do not, however, feel that the Ely Traders' Association has any real cause for celebration.
The bad news is, that having wasted tens of thousands of pounds of our money on consultants' fees, neither group has any real plan for city centre parking other than to impose parking charges, which will penalise the people who work in the city and villagers who have to use a car because of the lack of any suitable public transport services.
The Liberal Democrats have never hidden the fact that they would like to control use of the central parking by the imposition of charges for parking, and the most recent statements from the Conservative group clearly indicate that they are prepared to wait until after the next council elections before they find some reason to justify charges.
In spite of Mr Ashton's claim that the park will pay for itself after a few years, this will not happen unless the charges are quite high and are at least on par with the present charges for the railway park, the cost of land, the lighting along the path linking the park with the station, to ensure the safety of those who arrive home after dark. Plus the hire or purchase and maintenance of ticket machines, cost of a shuttle bus for the park-and-ride facility at weekends, some form of shelter for the passengers on the shuttle bus, the cost of staff to police the scheme and possibly of future legal fees to remove the travellers who will surely find this an attractive site to live on.
Whilst the park will free up a few spaces now used by commuters, cost alone will ensure that a large number will still park in streets in the area of the station and use any long-term spaces which are free of charge, many are students who cannot afford any extra expense.
As most of the people using the commuter park will be Council Tax payers, why not use the new park as a free facility provided by the council for the benefit of the tax payers and make a charge for visitors who use the park-and-ride facility? A considerable part of the initial cost could be saved, if instead of using very expensive consultants, future planning and adjustment to central parking could be carried out by the large number of council staff we already employ.