Parking claims brushed off by council leader

PUBLISHED: 11:59 03 December 2010

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Council leader hits out at opposition claims

CLAIMS that businesses and residents in Ely will be left cut-off by the district council’s plans to put barriers across the city’s car parks have been labelled “strange” and “irritating” by the leader of the council.

Liberal Democrat councillors claimed this week that putting up barriers could lead to a showdown with residents but council leader Fred Brown was quick to hit back at the claims, saying that his counterparts were “crying wolf.”

Cllr Brown said: “I do find it strange that our local opposition have decided to try and make a story out of something which they fully supported and agreed at a recent public meeting. They agreed with us that the issues of access to businesses and homes needed to be addressed before we could agree on the most appropriate systems for our car park.

“I find it irritating to have to repeat myself again but for clarity’s sake I will. We are in the very early stages of developing our car parking plans but our priority is to make sure we develop a system that give us value for money, does not penalise the law abiding residents or businesses and means no one can abuse the system. However if the Liberal Democrats want to cry wolf whenever the topic is discussed then how will any of us know when they are actually making serious points?”

The cross-party exchanges were born out of a meeting of the environment and transport committee held last week where councillors discussed the possibility of introducing barriers on car parks to enforce parking charges.

Lib Dem councillors suggested that barriers could make it difficult for businesses whose premises are accessed through the council’s car parks and said that Conservative councillors were making the process of enforcing car parking charges “unnecessarily complicated”.

Cllr Bob Stevens, Lib Dem transport spokesman said: “Barriers are more suited to multi-storey car parks. They also have a habit of breaking down or being damaged and staff need to be on hand to maintain them. Surely windscreen display tickets would be best for everyone?”

Leader Ian Allen said: “Putting barriers across the car parks makes the whole thing unnecessarily complicated.

“Clearly, we have to check whether these homes and businesses have rights of access through council land; but people still need to be able to go about their daily lives.

“This process is going to take time and we need to stick to a timetable on this issue so that we can get it up and running.”

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