Lake District parking meters plan in disarray, says top Tory

The Westmorland Gazette: Conservative leader James Airey Conservative leader James Airey

LOCAL politicians crossed swords over plans to bring in parking meters and on-street parking charges in the Lake District.

Councillors traded verbal blows today during the first full meeting of Cumbria County Council since a mass public outcry in Windermere and Ambleside.

Coun James Airey, leader of the opposition Conservatives, called on the Labour Lib-Dem coalition running the council to scrap the plans - saying they were in ‘total disarray’.

“This whole idea is failing and should be ditched,” said Coun Airey.

He was speaking following the announcement this week of a scaling back in the original plans.

It is now proposed to reduce the number of meters as well as scrapping their introduction to Windermere altogether.

Coun Airey told the chamber in Kendal: “It’s a complete and utter waste of money and in three years, when this coalition breaks up, this group will rip these meters out across Cumbria and will dump them in skips across Cumbria.”

Questioning Labour’s Keith Little, the council's transport portfolio holder, Coun Airey claimed that the decision to drop meters from Windermere had been done to help the Lib Dem leader and ward councillor Jo Stephenson, ‘keep his job’ and 'avoid deselection.'

Following street protests this week, Coun Stephenson announced that he would be instructing the county council’s South Lakeland Local Committee to scale back the number of meters.

And at today's meeting, Coun Little told Coun Airey: “We consulted on this for 12 weeks. I wish all those people who are ringing now and sending letters and emails had done so at the time. Many did, many did not. It (the consultation) went through every door in Cumbria.”

One voice on the Tory benches quipped: “Oh, so it’s the public’s fault now is it?”

But Coun Little said: “I’m not saying it’s the public’s fault. What I’m saying is they may read it (the next consultation) more diligently next time.”

Labour’s Tim Knowles said the on-street charges were necessary to properly organise parking, which he described as ‘chaos’ in the Lake District.

And Labour leader Stewart Young said the business rates levied by the Tory-Lib Dem Government were now ‘completely disproportionate’ to the income town centre businesses receive.

He suggested that out-of-town superstores should now pay more so that town centre business can get a reduction.

“Why not take it up with one of your mates in Government,” said Coun Young to Coun Airey.

On July 17, the council’s South Lakeland Local Committee will be presented with final plans on where the meters will go.

Meters are now likely to be introduced on Glebe Road in Bowness, Wansfell and Lake Road in Ambleside, but none in Windermere.

Comments (9)

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3:57pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Ben Berry says...

Scrap the whole plan; we will accept nothing less.
Scrap the whole plan; we will accept nothing less. Ben Berry
  • Score: 20

5:02pm Thu 19 Jun 14

littlemy says...

I don't remember receiving this “consultation“ through my door so I couldn't read it “diligently“. However there has been so much political rubbish through my door recently that it may have gone in the bin with the rest!
I don't remember receiving this “consultation“ through my door so I couldn't read it “diligently“. However there has been so much political rubbish through my door recently that it may have gone in the bin with the rest! littlemy
  • Score: 15

9:46am Fri 20 Jun 14

Lakesbloke says...

Trouble is we get so much consultation these days, the powers that be daren't take a prolongued trip to the loo without consulting, but most of it is double dutch and jargon so as to make it impenetrable to the average Joe in the street. Publicise the plans in simple terms and get an opinion, don't over or under-inform, give the facts as bullet points clearly, then you may get a response. You can have my response now if you like. Please can we go back to Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire for Counties, and cut down on red (blue?) tape, let's do what Scotland has done and have a Police North West, to include the whole area. Lets dump the idea of 3 authorities - district, county and LDNPA and have 1, possibly one and a half to cover everything. They could melt down the meters they've ordered for paperweights.
Trouble is we get so much consultation these days, the powers that be daren't take a prolongued trip to the loo without consulting, but most of it is double dutch and jargon so as to make it impenetrable to the average Joe in the street. Publicise the plans in simple terms and get an opinion, don't over or under-inform, give the facts as bullet points clearly, then you may get a response. You can have my response now if you like. Please can we go back to Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire for Counties, and cut down on red (blue?) tape, let's do what Scotland has done and have a Police North West, to include the whole area. Lets dump the idea of 3 authorities - district, county and LDNPA and have 1, possibly one and a half to cover everything. They could melt down the meters they've ordered for paperweights. Lakesbloke
  • Score: 6

9:34am Sat 21 Jun 14

dancer58 says...

Well ones things for sure councillor Stephenson will not be getting my vote , arrogant , and does not listen to the very people who support him .
He's ruined his good name over this issue ,let's hope people remember ,
He will of course take the credit for a slight u turn
Well ones things for sure councillor Stephenson will not be getting my vote , arrogant , and does not listen to the very people who support him . He's ruined his good name over this issue ,let's hope people remember , He will of course take the credit for a slight u turn dancer58
  • Score: 6

8:53am Mon 23 Jun 14

DenysShortt says...

Members of the public are fed up with Council consultations hence the lack of response. A simple survey from high street business owners would have given the "no to parking charges" response. CCC must work closely with local businesses to create jobs and growth - not hit them with parking charges that kills shopper footfall. Nobody (even councillors) will pay £1 to park when they pop to the shop for milk or a newspaper.
Members of the public are fed up with Council consultations hence the lack of response. A simple survey from high street business owners would have given the "no to parking charges" response. CCC must work closely with local businesses to create jobs and growth - not hit them with parking charges that kills shopper footfall. Nobody (even councillors) will pay £1 to park when they pop to the shop for milk or a newspaper. DenysShortt
  • Score: 3

4:28pm Mon 23 Jun 14

Little Sir John says...

Cobblers - how many Council consultations have there been in the past year? - do not including the party political nonsense that comes through the door as it is nothing to do with the Council. If it is the party polictical junk that is causing the problem - perhaps the coucnillors need to wakeup to this.

In any case, what is the alternative, deals made in smoke free rooms? Council officials making all the decisions?

Personally, I think people just cannot be bothred to pay any attention as to what is going on in their community until it is too late and it is splashed across the front of the Gazette.
Cobblers - how many Council consultations have there been in the past year? - do not including the party political nonsense that comes through the door as it is nothing to do with the Council. If it is the party polictical junk that is causing the problem - perhaps the coucnillors need to wakeup to this. In any case, what is the alternative, deals made in smoke free rooms? Council officials making all the decisions? Personally, I think people just cannot be bothred to pay any attention as to what is going on in their community until it is too late and it is splashed across the front of the Gazette. Little Sir John
  • Score: 0

9:27pm Mon 23 Jun 14

Spotty Fish says...

To be fair Little Sir John, you are right. There are not that many consultations. The problem is that our council, elected by us to act on our behalf, plays on the fact that people lead busy lives and don't have the time or the inclination to go rumaging around in the small print of many of these proposals they put forward. Now I'm not for a minute suggesting that they would do this deliberately, but it doesn't half benefit them when people don't read them.

I think the fact that so many people have protested about the on street parking charges, once they became aware of what was happening, suggests that people care very much about their community, and have proved that it is never too late to have their say.
To be fair Little Sir John, you are right. There are not that many consultations. The problem is that our council, elected by us to act on our behalf, plays on the fact that people lead busy lives and don't have the time or the inclination to go rumaging around in the small print of many of these proposals they put forward. Now I'm not for a minute suggesting that they would do this deliberately, but it doesn't half benefit them when people don't read them. I think the fact that so many people have protested about the on street parking charges, once they became aware of what was happening, suggests that people care very much about their community, and have proved that it is never too late to have their say. Spotty Fish
  • Score: 3

1:00pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Howist says...

According to the CCC website, the council did consult over these charges over a 13 week period. Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? When/if they consulted, it must have been ultra low key.
The report on the consultations said there were net disagreements with the proposals; it also indicated that there were strong reservations from district councils (but not from SLDC, interestingly) and from other bodies like Cumbria Tourism.
Yet, the council still voted to go ahead with their original proposals! So, the council ignored the consultation results. So much for consultation, eh?
According to the CCC website, the council did consult over these charges over a 13 week period. Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? When/if they consulted, it must have been ultra low key. The report on the consultations said there were net disagreements with the proposals; it also indicated that there were strong reservations from district councils (but not from SLDC, interestingly) and from other bodies like Cumbria Tourism. Yet, the council still voted to go ahead with their original proposals! So, the council ignored the consultation results. So much for consultation, eh? Howist
  • Score: 2

6:35pm Wed 25 Jun 14

onelocal says...

Howist wrote:
According to the CCC website, the council did consult over these charges over a 13 week period. Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? When/if they consulted, it must have been ultra low key.
The report on the consultations said there were net disagreements with the proposals; it also indicated that there were strong reservations from district councils (but not from SLDC, interestingly) and from other bodies like Cumbria Tourism.
Yet, the council still voted to go ahead with their original proposals! So, the council ignored the consultation results. So much for consultation, eh?
SLDC wouldn't have any reservations about the CCC proposals for on street parking charges. These proposals have been made by the LibDems, in bed with Labour at CCC. There are 15 LibDems on CCC, 9 of whom are also double dipping on SLDC. At a recent meeting of SLDC, Councillor Berry, a Tory councillor, proposed that SLDC send a message to CCC objecting to their decision to implement on street parking charges. This proposal was defeated by the LibDem majority. Although our MP is making all the right noises against the proposal, it keeps him sweet with his electorate, SLDC are deafening in their silence on the subject. This is what happens when one party has such a comfortable majority, that they start to ignore the views of their own electors. Just because our MP is a "nice" chap, it doesn't necessarily follow that those elected on his back are. It's time for a change in South Lakes, in fact it would be nice to get party politics out of local government.
[quote][p][bold]Howist[/bold] wrote: According to the CCC website, the council did consult over these charges over a 13 week period. Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? When/if they consulted, it must have been ultra low key. The report on the consultations said there were net disagreements with the proposals; it also indicated that there were strong reservations from district councils (but not from SLDC, interestingly) and from other bodies like Cumbria Tourism. Yet, the council still voted to go ahead with their original proposals! So, the council ignored the consultation results. So much for consultation, eh?[/p][/quote]SLDC wouldn't have any reservations about the CCC proposals for on street parking charges. These proposals have been made by the LibDems, in bed with Labour at CCC. There are 15 LibDems on CCC, 9 of whom are also double dipping on SLDC. At a recent meeting of SLDC, Councillor Berry, a Tory councillor, proposed that SLDC send a message to CCC objecting to their decision to implement on street parking charges. This proposal was defeated by the LibDem majority. Although our MP is making all the right noises against the proposal, it keeps him sweet with his electorate, SLDC are deafening in their silence on the subject. This is what happens when one party has such a comfortable majority, that they start to ignore the views of their own electors. Just because our MP is a "nice" chap, it doesn't necessarily follow that those elected on his back are. It's time for a change in South Lakes, in fact it would be nice to get party politics out of local government. onelocal
  • Score: 3

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