VICTORY! Jubilant councillors celebrate as parking charges in Ely given red light

Councillors Bill Hunt, Mike Rouse, Anna Bailey and Elaine Griffin-Singh with Andrew Olley of the Ely

Councillors Bill Hunt, Mike Rouse, Anna Bailey and Elaine Griffin-Singh with Andrew Olley of the Ely Traders' Association - Credit: Archant

THERE was jubilation among opponents of car park charging in Ely last night as they celebrated the decision to scrap the plans.

Cllr Peter Moakes, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, and Cllr Will Burton, mayor of Ely, announced on Monday that they had listened to the feedback from the public consultation and decided to drop the plans.

The pair have vowed not to introduce proposals for parking charges again “throughout the remaining term” of the current Conservative administration.

Cllr Bill Hunt joined with fellow Conservative councillors Anna Bailey, Mike Rouse, Elaine Griffin-Singh and Andrew Olley from the Ely Traders Association at the St Mary’s Street car park on Monday night to celebrate the decision.

Cllr Hunt said: “This is a triumph for democracy and commonsense. I am delighted for the workers from the villages who have to drive to Ely to work and have always been one of my main concerns”.

“With 14 empty shops in Ely, the introduction of charges in our car parks would have been a disaster. Now is the time to really start re-selling Ely as a very special place.

“I can see signs in the car parks shouting that we have free parking and inviting visitors to spend times in our shops, Pubs and all our facilities. Above all commonsense has triumphed.”

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The district council confirmed that the revenue from parking charges that had been earmarked in its budget would have to be found from elsewhere but insisted that it did not render the budget invalid.

A spokesman said: “The budget did make allowance for a car park scheme which would cover its own costs but with the proposals not progressing we will now be looking to make up this shortfall.

“This does not mean the budget is no longer valid as the gap could be funded from earmarked reserves for example.