Parking permits fury as residents snubbed

PUBLISHED: 10:36 22 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:04 04 May 2010

David Kirby pushes the case for parking ­permits in Silver Street.

David Kirby pushes the case for parking ­permits in Silver Street.

ELY residents are being refused off-street parking permits - even though the council does not know how many people want them. Officials have refused to include residents in their new parking regime without even gauging the demand. They do not want to ope

ELY residents are being refused off-street parking permits - even though the council does not know how many people want them.

Officials have refused to include residents in their new parking regime without even gauging the demand.

They do not want to "open the floodgates" of rate-paying residents and are giving priority to workers travelling into Ely.

"If we ask the question we prejudge the decision and people think it is going to happen," said David Archer, East Cambridgeshire District Council's development director.

"We are favouring the business community in the centre of Ely for the all the right reasons - the economic viability of the centre."

Specially appointed council parking champion, Cllr Tony Goodge, said: "We have no intention of giving in. It would open up the floodgates."

But Valerie Bent, who has lived in Broad Street, Ely, for 25 years, said: "We have been dismissed and terribly let down. This is a political issue and it shouldn't be."

The council officials' comments came as a new parking regime is to be launched on December 10, which would mean residents using council-run car parks will be shunting their cars around the city to abide by new timed restrictions.

Cllr Goodge, who represents the Downham villages, has collated a batch of colourful spreadsheets on the parking issue and has even been out counting spaces.

Questionnaires have been sent to businesses to find out their views on parking permits.

But no-one has asked the residents. Yet when the council launched its public consultation, only 10 householders raised the issue of parking permits and only five turned up to protest outside a recent council meeting.

"There is no room for manoeuvre here," said Cllr Goodge. "We would be opening it up to too many people. We can't favour the people of Ely to the detriment of the city."

Mr Archer admitted he had no idea how many residents would take up a permits offer.

"We are making an assumption on the figures based on the work we have been doing in the last four of five years," he said. "We have not gone out and asked people."

These people include retired railway engineer, David Kirby, who has lived in Ely for 40 years and in Silver Street for the last 22 years with no off-street parking space.

He said: "I probably spend £5,000 in the course of a year in this city, certainly more than your average tourist. But it may be that internet shopping is now the way forward."

Now residents will have to wait for a review of the parking regime in six months or at least two years until Cambridgeshire County Council investigates the possibility of decriminalising on-street parking across the county and introducing residents' parking bays.

# What do you think? Do you think the council has acted fairly towards the residents? E-mail us at editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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