Ely traders call public meeting about parking charges

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 August 2011

ANGRY traders who are campaigning against car parking charges being introduced in Ely have called a public meeting to discuss the matter - claiming that the district council has so far failed to "listen to what people have to say."

ANGRY traders who are campaigning against car parking charges being introduced in Ely have called a public meeting to discuss the matter - claiming that the district council has so far failed to “listen to what people have to say.”

Ely Traders Association - which believes that parking charges will ruin the city centre - now wants councillors to meet the public and traders at an open meeting but say the authority has so far failed to engage with them.

Since the campaign was launched two months ago, almost 10,000 signatures have been collected on a petition calling for East Cambridgeshire District Council to rethink its proposal.

Frustrated Andrew Olley, from the traders’ association, said this week: “We have written to the committee three times, asking to be involved in meaningful discussion.

“We are astonished the council won’t listen to what the people have to say. This is an issue which has seen nearly 10,000 constituents signing a petition against parking charges in Ely.

“We want a face to face consultation with regard to parking charges. It is all well and good setting policies, but the council should go to the electorate to see what they think; they are accountable to the public.

“We are baffled by the arrogance of those that are supposed to represent us.

“It is not good enough to set up a committee which doesn’t listen, or to have a leader who thinks a two minute chat with one member constitutes consultation.

“Sainsbury’s is coming, and the supermarkets will be pulling the city apart; the city is under pressure and the council will finish it off by putting in parking charges.”

He added: “The city centre is already under massive pressure and with the introduction of Sainsbury’s, this is going to be intensified. To introduce parking charges now would be a terrible misjudgement.

“10,000 people way they don’t want to see the sacrifice of Ely City Centre. It is about time the councillors really started representing them.

Mr Olley says that people signing the petition do not believe “the smokescreen” that it costs £400,000 to maintain the city car parks.

“These people want to know how much extra revenue the council is expecting to earn form the sacrifice of Ely City Centre,” he said.

“And they want to know why they are intending to build the out of town leisure facility with the proceeds. It is about time the council made itself accountable to the people who elect them.

“As the councillors won’t speak to the people they represent, we are inviting all council members, all traders and all members of the public to attend the open meeting.”

Cllr James Palmer, deputy leader of the district council, said: “We have received a request to meet with the Ely Traders Association and we are making arrangements to hold a discussion at the end of the month. It is important to remember the council has not yet published any proposals regarding parking controls in Ely but once we do we promise to consult widely to make sure everyone gets their chance to comment on them.”

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