Mayor warns of anger over parking charges

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A TOWN mayor has said an increase in parking charges in north Northumberland would be an ‘injustice’ and could cause widespread anger.

Voicing his concerns at Northumberland County Council’s north area committee on Monday, Coun Alan Symmonds, Mayor of Alnwick, said that he wanted to know if charges were going to be increased in the north and west of the county and put into force in the south east of the county where parking is currently free.

Citing minutes from the economic prosperity and strategic services overview and scrutiny committee, Coun Symmonds said it is expected that increased charges will come into force in October.

He said: “If they are to be imposed we want to know if it will affect everybody, including those that don’t pay charges.

“I have been around local government long enough to know that there are difficult decisions to make and I do think that parking charges are one of those tough decisions.

“But if parking charges are to be raised the income from them will be spent for all of Northumberland.

“And if it is made under the current infrastructure it will generate a great deal of anger and certainly a great sense of injustice.”

He added: “If this goes through I think you might be saying go home and prepare for oblivion.”

Area committee chairman Coun Pat Scott said the suggestion of raising charges was to address a department deficit, but Mike Scott, head of sustainable transport at the county council, said no decision has yet been made.

“We are currently in the process of consulting around the county as part of the car parking strategy,” he said.

“We know there are no charges in the south east, that may or may not remain the case, the details are still being worked out.”

Coun Glen Sanderson added: “There is a significant difference of opinion within the council about car parking charges and how they are implemented.”