CUMBRIA County Council’s proposal to charge for on-street parking solely in Ambleside brought heavy criticism from public and councillors at the latest Lakes Parish Council Plans meeting as an 'inadequately thought-out money-making scheme which would have a severe impact on visitors, retailers and B and B owners'.
Councillors urged everyone in Ambleside to oppose them, and Coun Vivienne Rees said the idea was flawed on economic, social and moral grounds.
She said proposals lacked detail and supporting evidence, yet CCC had set aside over £250,000 for meters.
Coun Maureen Colquhoun also criticised CCC for what she regarded as the surreptitious way it had discussed the issue.
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County councillor Heidi Halliday said she had strongly opposed the original proposal and would continue fighting against it, urging everyone to sign the ‘Say No to On-Street Charges’ petition in Spar or at Whittaker’s Newsagents, or online at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-on-street-parking-charges.
Following last week’s Lakes PC meeting, the council wrote to CCC Leader Stewart Young and Highways and Transport Cabinet member Keith Little expressing concern at the lack of consultation on the specifics of the proposal, details of which had only been revealed in the past few weeks.
Councillors asked both to attend the next Lakes PC meeting so they could hear directly the effect charging would have on local people, including those from surrounding villages who use Ambleside for their daily shopping needs.
They also want to highlight the problems on-street charging would cause local small independent businesses, particularly now that since CCC’s original decision was taken, Sainsbury’s has been given permission for a supermarket at Hayes Garden World, offering two hours’ free parking for customers.
In response, Leadership Support officer Theresa Atkinson said neither Stewart Young nor Keith Little were available but CCC had already consulted on the proposal to introduce on-street parking charges, which was agreed in February as part of the budget setting process for 2014/15.
However, decisions on exactly where on-street charging would go and how much charges would be in South Lakeland were matters to be decided through the South Lakeland Local Committee.
A period of consultation around the implementation process would take place and when this was decided, Lakes PC would have the opportunity to respond, as part of the consultation process on Traffic Regulation Orders.
Councillors were also told that the South Lakeland Local Committee was due to discuss the issue at a workshop this week, at which Coun Heidi Halliday would be able to feed in the parish council’s concerns at this stage.