SLDC 'perk' to end as Council leader and senior staff give up parking places for public (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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SLDC 'perk' to end as Council leader and senior staff give up parking places for public
A PERK for council staff and councillors in Kendal is set to be scrapped - to help bring in more cash.
South Lakeland District Council is planning to open up level three of its South Lakeland House car park to the general public - seven days a week.
Until now, motorists have not been permitted to park on level three during the working week - unless they bagged one of six visitor spaces.
The third deck has been off limits to allow SLDC's senior management team, councillors and certain officers to park their cars.
But under the new arrangements, general pay and display parking for the public and parking for those with full price permits will be introduced on level three instead.
The measure is expected to be decided on Wednesday this week.
It has been brought in to meet a council target to increase income from the council car park by a further £15,000.
It means the leader of the Lib Dem-run authority Coun Peter Thornton and SLDC chairwoman, Coun Evelyn Westwood, will lose their reserved spaces.
Councillor Thornton said: “It’s very nice to have your own private parking space and it’s something I’ve greatly appreciated. But most of my time is spent out and about and I’m not in it. It seems wrong to me that I’m occupying a space when I’m not there.”
Coun Thornton, whose brief for the authority includes parking, added: “Being in charge of parking and having your own parking space is a bit like being a health minister and having private healthcare or being education minister and educating your children privately.
“If it ends up that on a wet day I am late to a meeting because I have had to park a little bit further away, that’s what can happen to everybody else who has to park in Kendal. You can only understand these issues if you experience them for yourself.”
Councillors have been warned that they may not be able to find a spot on council meeting days.
To combat this, the authority’s 51 councillors will be provided with access cards to the Westmorland Shopping Centre.
And on nights when there are council meetings, the lower levels of South Lakeland House car park will remain open rather than being locked.
Council staff will also be given a free access card to park at The Westmorland Shopping Centre - but only if they purchase a subsidised parking permit.
The authority’s senior management team already has to pay for parking permits for their places on level three.
Under the new arrangement, six new visitor spaces will be installed, and two loading and unloading bays.
A council report to go before the Lib Dem Cabinet on Wednesday February 12 recommends they approve the changes.
It read: “Officers have been asked to consider the future use of South Lakeland House Car Park level 3 in a way that removes the current public parking restrictions Monday to Friday and that maximises opportunities to generate further revenue from the site.”
Coun Giles Archibald, the Lib Dem portfolio holder with responsibility for town centres and small businesses, has discussed the matter with all the political parties and notified every SLDC councillor.