A PARISH council has delivered a unanimous vote of no confidence in Cumbria County Council following its decision to introduce on-street parking charges.
Lakes Parish Council said it was evident the local authority could not be trusted to ensure the economic future of the Lake District.
They are calling on the Boundary Commission to scrap the county and replace it with two unitary authorities – Cumberland and Westmorland – and six district councils.
The meeting heard that many decisions regarding the Lake District were driven by West Coast councillors, who thought the region was ‘very prosperous’ but who were out of the loop and knew little about the area.
Councillors said the char-ges were nothing more than a money-making scheme to plug a £24m gap in Cum-bria’s budget without calculating the effect on Ambleside.
The charges were dubbed an ‘aggressive tax on hard-pressed residents and visitors’.
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Coun Kevin McCarten said he had completed research which revealed average earnings in Workington were 20 per cent higher than the low wage economy of central Lakes, yet house prices in the Lakes were 400 per cent higher.
The charges would be ‘utterly disastrous‘ and would devastate business on Ambleside’s streets, the meeting was told.
Approving the cost-cutting plans as part of the county council 2014/2015 budget earlier this month, cabinet members spoke of how parking income could protect vital services for the most vulnerable.
But Coun Fiona Sparrow said parking profits would normally be ploughed back into parking services and questioned the legality of using income to fund other services.
Lakes councillors said that the ‘no confidence’ motion was in no way a criticism of Lakes County Coun Heidi Halliday, who had helped gather a petition of 1,800 signatures and promised to continue her opposition to the plan, although it was against party lines.
The vote of ‘no confidence’ will be sent to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.