"Nothing on the Conservative table" at parking meeting

PUBLISHED: 15:17 19 September 2011 | UPDATED: 15:52 19 September 2011

At the meeting someone claimed that there was "nothing on the table" which we all know is Conservative-speak for "we have kept all discussions on this matter away from the rest of the council".

WORD was leaked from our Conservative-led council that plans were well advanced to impose charges on those using our car parks. The Ely Traders’ Association realising this was possibly the final nail in the coffin for some of our city centre traders managed to get a large number of people to sign a petition in protest against this move which even allowing for some duplication amounted to more than 10,000 signatures.

Faced with this at a time of acute economic difficulties one would have thought that our council would co-operate with the traders and call a public meeting to enable the councillors to hear the opinions of both the public and the traders.

But no, they chose instead to get the traders to organise a meeting, charging the traders for the use of the council chamber. The meeting was arranged by the traders rather than by the council so they were also required to arrange a public liability insurance policy that cost £150 just for that one evening.

At the meeting, someone claimed that there was ”nothing on the table” which we all know is Conservative-speak for “we have kept all discussions on this matter away from the rest of the council”.

It became clear during the meeting that other authorities that have recently introduced car parking charges have failed to recoup their financial outlay on equipment for many years with the result that their financial reserves have been depleted and parking spaces are often empty, footfall in the shops reduced, motorists suffer, so everyone has lost out.

Is it the case that introducing parking charges would get rid of most of the pesky independent traders thus making our city far more attractive for an organisation like Wall Mart to build a vast mega-store in the north of the city bringing with it the prospect of Section 106 money, perhaps £2 million - a sum which is sorely needed to fill the gap in ECDC finances largely caused by their expenditure of £1 million in 2010 on plans for a leisure centre.

FRANK LINDSELL

St John’s Road

Ely

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