SHOPPERS could see a rise in parking charges across the county if plans to introduce a permit are put into action.
Last month, Northumberland County Council announced that a shoppers’ permit scheme, which would give residents the chance to park free of charge at certain times of the day, for a one-off fee, was to be rolled out across the county. But a report to the authority’s Executive states that the current budget for the local services group would not be able to meet the scheme’s requirements. And it adds that no budget or funding source has been identified to put it in place for the proposed £200,000 cost.
Northumberland Conservatives have criticised the plan as ‘giving money to residents with one hand and taking it back with the other’.
Leader of Northumberland Conservatives, Coun Peter Jackson, said: “The Lib Dem plan proves that they see car parking as a cash cow, but this is an unwarranted tax on county residents. The Lib Dems are promising to give money to residents with one hand, but to take it back with the other.
“The Lib Dems are failing to challenge the basic inequality whereby Alnwick residents pay to park, when parking is free elsewhere in the county. It cannot be right that Alnwick residents, who already pay one of the highest rates in Northumberland, will be forced to pay even more. The latest Lib Dem plan will do little to support our market towns while reinforcing the current unfairness.”
It is the established policy of Northumberland Conservatives to make parking free for residents of Northumberland. The Tory plans have won the backing of chambers of trade in Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth and Hexham.