Mass meeting in Bowness as clock ticks down on parking charges decision

The Westmorland Gazette: Opponents to the on-street charges gather at The Glebe Opponents to the on-street charges gather at The Glebe

CAMPAIGNERS have gathered on The Glebe in Bowness in a show of strength against on-street parking charges before a crunch decision is made next week.

People gathered at the bandstand with umbrellas bearing slogans, and placards reading: 'WABA says no to parking charges, " and "No confidence in CCC".

The event on Saturday July 13 was organised by the recently-formed Windermere and Bowness Action group (WABA).

A Cumbria County Council committee meets in Kendal next Thursday (July 17) to vote on the introduction of the charges, what people will have to pay and where.

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Under the plan, The Glebe, one of the last significant stretches of road in Bowness where parking is free for two hours - it would mean 20 minutes free parking coming in and charges thereafter; expected to be over £1.50 an hour.

On Thursday of next week, the 18-member South Lakeland Local Committee - an offshoot committee of the county council - with a Lib Dem majority, will make the final local decision.

At today's event, Westmorland MP Tim Farron said the battle is '90 per cent won' after the number of streets pencilled-in for charges was vastly scaled back.

But he said the county council, run by a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, would have to 'face up to the fact' that the charges are hugely unpopular with the public.

Mr Farron expects council bosses may now scrap the plan altogether because the small number of streets now left in the scheme would not generate sufficient income to be worthwhile going ahead.

Mr Farron said: "The proposals have been significantly scaled back and that is all down to Jo Stephenson (the Lib Dem group leader on CCC). We are 90 per cent there and the 10 per cent is worth fighting for, because in my view it's the thin end of the wedge.

"If you look at the businesses round the Lake, and there are some very successful ones, there are also some with relatively small margins and the people they employ will be not be on much over the national minimum wage.

"Why put them all at risk and make it harder for people to shop?"

The recently-formed Windermere and Bowness Action group (WABA) are convinced it is not to late to overturn the charges locally.

Representatives gathered signatures for a petition and gave out letters to be sent to Cumbria County Council's Labour leader, Coun Stewart Young.

Susan Wales, of WABA, said the response from members and the public had been 'great'.

Coun David Williams, the Tory leader on SLDC and councillor for Windermere and Bowness South, said: "Today is about making sure that we get the message to CCC and councillors that we do not want metered parking on the Glebe.

"We've only just fought the National Park who wanted to ban all parking, and now they come up with this."

Nigel Wilkinson, MD of Windermere Lake Cruises, said he was concerned with how 'out of touch' the county council had been and at some of the 'arrogance' shown.

He said his request for an economic impact assessment before any charges were introduced, was described in a county council letter as 'not possible or meaningful'.

Mr Wilkinson also said the introduction of parking charges flew directly in the face of government advice on the future of high streets penned by Mary Portas 'Queen of Shops', as it proposed free local parking.

Mr Wilkinson explained: "The parking along the Glebe means you can park for two hours and there's a clear two hour restriction so those parking places will turnover four or five times during the day. It gives visitors a chance to park here, get familiar with the area, stop at a cafe, go for a cruise and a wander around the village."

Jim Bland, the Tory county councillor for the Lyth Valley which covers part of Bowness, quipped: "The Liberals will have to get their act together because we can't have their MP saying one thing and the party doing the opposite."

And Bill Smith, known as the Shop Doctor for his specialism in 'retail revitalisation' believes the charges will certainly hurt the local economy.

Mr Smith explain: "It will have an impact of causing people to spend less time in the town. If they create a 20 minute parking window, they will pop in and pop out and spend less money and not have the opportunity to spend time in the town, browsing, shopping or socialising."

 

Comments (3)

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11:29pm Sat 12 Jul 14

Howist says...

Politicians, who can believe or trust any of them?
The CCC Lab/LibDem Coalition pass a proposal for 31 parking meters and £20 resident parking permits in Windermere and Bowness in May; Jo Stephenson, frightened by public revolt led by WaBA, offers a 'minimalist solution' of 8 meters on Glebe Road only in June; then, in July, the LibDem dominated South Lakeland Area Committee come up with a third proposal for their meeting next Thursday of 14 meters in Windermere and 8 on Glebe Road in Bowness.
No economic impact assessment, a pretence at consultation with the local community, obvious disagreement amongst the controlling group as to the way forward. Utter cluelessness!
No wonder parish councils and local communities at their protest meetings have no confidence In the politicians.
Politicians, who can believe or trust any of them? The CCC Lab/LibDem Coalition pass a proposal for 31 parking meters and £20 resident parking permits in Windermere and Bowness in May; Jo Stephenson, frightened by public revolt led by WaBA, offers a 'minimalist solution' of 8 meters on Glebe Road only in June; then, in July, the LibDem dominated South Lakeland Area Committee come up with a third proposal for their meeting next Thursday of 14 meters in Windermere and 8 on Glebe Road in Bowness. No economic impact assessment, a pretence at consultation with the local community, obvious disagreement amongst the controlling group as to the way forward. Utter cluelessness! No wonder parish councils and local communities at their protest meetings have no confidence In the politicians. Howist
  • Score: 8

11:06am Sun 13 Jul 14

SteveISITFAIR says...

Of course, the elected Cllrs of this rabble did positively vote to give hundreds of thousands of pounds OF OUR MONEY to early retiring CEOs etc and thereby seemingly necessitating having to raise even more cash to squander, elsewhere. The answer to this equation is very simple guys " GET RID OF THEM" !!!
Of course, the elected Cllrs of this rabble did positively vote to give hundreds of thousands of pounds OF OUR MONEY to early retiring CEOs etc and thereby seemingly necessitating having to raise even more cash to squander, elsewhere. The answer to this equation is very simple guys " GET RID OF THEM" !!! SteveISITFAIR
  • Score: 5

10:39am Tue 15 Jul 14

twitchy says...

Following a budget review last February Cumbria County Council decided to introduce Targeted On Street Parking Charges across the county and to charge for residents parking permits. This decision was taken by the County Council Cabinet after a so called consultation (which few people seem to be aware of and a series of 'drop in' events that even fewer people attended) the local 'drop in' at Windermere was attended by only six people out of around 6,000 residents.
The results of this feeble consultation showed that the proposal to introduce targeted on street parking charges was unpopular and that the respondents voted against the proposal, however undeterred by this Cumbria County Council are going ahead with the introduction of charges for on street parking and on the 17th of July the Local Area Committee will decide on the implementation of the meters as directed by the County Council.

In response to this debacle Windermere and Bowness Action Group was formed and on June 5th we held a Public Meeting at the local community centre, which was very well attended and it was clear from the business and residential community that they did not agree with the introduction of the On Street Parking Charges or charging for resident parking permits.
There was a vote of no confidence in CCC (later upheld by Windermere Town Council)and a vote of no confidence in the local County Council representative Jo Stephenson.
Recently the local County Council representative claimed to have an agreement on the implementation of the meters and that they will only now be targeting Glebe rd., Bowness Bay a tourist hotspot which currently has 2 hours free parking. It is essential to the businesses along the bay and residents that this free parking is allowed to continue.

Windermere and Bowness Action Group (WaBA Group) are continuing the fight to overturn the County Council decision to impose the charges against the will of the residents and local businesses.

This is after all a National Park, and on street parking charges in a popular visitor area is an anathema to the principles and statutory obligations of the park. It is unfortunate that the CEO of the Lake District National Park is more concerned about the County Council members of the board (25%) than he is about the impact any decisions made by them and their colleagues will have on the National Park.
So much for ''The Lake District will be an inspirational example of sustainable development in action, a place where its prosperous economy, world class visitor experience and vibrant communities come together to sustain the spectacular landscape, its wildlife and cultural heritage'' but only after you have emptied your pockets and if CCC will allow it.

WaBA Group is aware that these controversial charges do not only affect Windermere and Bowness but are countywide, countrywide in fact. We are also aware of Cumbria County Councils' 'black hole' in the budget which they seem to think can be filled with these proposed charges even though this has been challenged in other areas and found to be illegal.
There are some very angry people around the county who feel they are not being represented by those they have elected and by all the evidence they are justified in feeling that way. Not long now though,to express your feelings with a vote.
For more details re WaBAG we are on Facebook (Windermere And Bowness Action Group), Twitter @WaBAGroup, email wabagroup@btinternet
.com, or Tel No. 015394 40025.
Following a budget review last February Cumbria County Council decided to introduce Targeted On Street Parking Charges across the county and to charge for residents parking permits. This decision was taken by the County Council Cabinet after a so called consultation (which few people seem to be aware of and a series of 'drop in' events that even fewer people attended) the local 'drop in' at Windermere was attended by only six people out of around 6,000 residents. The results of this feeble consultation showed that the proposal to introduce targeted on street parking charges was unpopular and that the respondents voted against the proposal, however undeterred by this Cumbria County Council are going ahead with the introduction of charges for on street parking and on the 17th of July the Local Area Committee will decide on the implementation of the meters as directed by the County Council. In response to this debacle Windermere and Bowness Action Group was formed and on June 5th we held a Public Meeting at the local community centre, which was very well attended and it was clear from the business and residential community that they did not agree with the introduction of the On Street Parking Charges or charging for resident parking permits. There was a vote of no confidence in CCC (later upheld by Windermere Town Council)and a vote of no confidence in the local County Council representative Jo Stephenson. Recently the local County Council representative claimed to have an agreement on the implementation of the meters and that they will only now be targeting Glebe rd., Bowness Bay a tourist hotspot which currently has 2 hours free parking. It is essential to the businesses along the bay and residents that this free parking is allowed to continue. Windermere and Bowness Action Group (WaBA Group) are continuing the fight to overturn the County Council decision to impose the charges against the will of the residents and local businesses. This is after all a National Park, and on street parking charges in a popular visitor area is an anathema to the principles and statutory obligations of the park. It is unfortunate that the CEO of the Lake District National Park is more concerned about the County Council members of the board (25%) than he is about the impact any decisions made by them and their colleagues will have on the National Park. So much for ''The Lake District will be an inspirational example of sustainable development in action, a place where its prosperous economy, world class visitor experience and vibrant communities come together to sustain the spectacular landscape, its wildlife and cultural heritage'' but only after you have emptied your pockets and if CCC will allow it. WaBA Group is aware that these controversial charges do not only affect Windermere and Bowness but are countywide, countrywide in fact. We are also aware of Cumbria County Councils' 'black hole' in the budget which they seem to think can be filled with these proposed charges even though this has been challenged in other areas and found to be illegal. There are some very angry people around the county who feel they are not being represented by those they have elected and by all the evidence they are justified in feeling that way. Not long now though,to express your feelings with a vote. For more details re WaBAG we are on Facebook (Windermere And Bowness Action Group), Twitter @WaBAGroup, email wabagroup@btinternet .com, or Tel No. 015394 40025. twitchy
  • Score: 2
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