Tourists will not mind modest car park charge

PUBLISHED: 15:49 19 September 2011

In essense, what I was trying to say was that if we feel that we have to introduce car parking charges we will aim to do so in a way which shields the most vulnerable and the most local as best as possible.

I WOULD like to clear some things up from the meeting held last Thursday on car parking charges. I agree, that maybe I could have phrased things a little differently, I think “hitting the tourists” was a rhetorical flourish that could have been avoided, and therefore I set myself up to be misrepresented.

In essense, what I was trying to say was that if we feel that we have to introduce car parking charges we will aim to do so in a way which shields the most vulnerable and the most local as best as possible. Yes, tourism is crucial for the town centre, it brings £103million into the local economy every year. However, the overwhelming view in the Conservative group is that a “modest” charge on tourists will not deter them, therefore the needs of the local people and the tourists do not, in my view, intersect in a way which makes the introduction of car parking charges inadvisable. Moreover, I believe that the overwhelming majority of tourists would expect to pay something, Newark is the only settlement I know larger than us that don’t have some form of a charge, and let’s face it, we have more to offer than Newark. My view is that the substance of what I say holds, and that if a modest charge on people (tourists) that are going to come here anyway allows us to get our budget in order, then so be it. I don’t think there are many tourists out there who would drastically alter their holiday or weekend plans due to the possible introduction of a modest charge.

CLLR BILL HUNT

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