Lib Dems hit out at traders

Alnwick traders with the posters calling for residents to vote for fairness on car parking charges
Alnwick traders with the posters calling for residents to vote for fairness on car parking charges

Liberal Democrats in one of the county’s market towns have issued a stinging reproach to business leaders for their political approach to car parking.

As reported in the Gazette last week, the newly-formed Northumberland Market Towns Chamber of Trade is pushing free residents’ car parking to the top of the election agenda through leaflets and posters calling on residents to ‘vote for fairness’.

The material outlines the stance of the three main political parties on car parking, including the Tories’ pledge to introduce a scheme within 100 days if in control of the council after the election and the Lib Dems oppostion to free parking across the county.

The market towns group is made up of representatives from Alnwick, Berwick, Morpeth and Hexham, but Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade’s (MDCT) involvement has led to a rebuke in a statement issued by Andrew Tebbutt, election agent for thefour Liberal Democrat county council candidates forMorpeth North, Morpeth Stobhill, Morpeth Kirkhill & Pegswood, together with all 12 Morpeth Town Council Liberal Democrat candidates.

In it, they profess to be ‘both astonished and disappointed that the chamber of trade has taken a political stance in this election campaign.

‘We can understand that they want free parking, but to come out in support of a political party on a single issue is not what is expected from a chamber of trade.

‘Such organisations should certainly lobby on issues, but to align with a political party could actually damage not only their reputation, but also their trade’.

Hitting back, a statement from MDCT read: ‘MDCT is part of the Northumberland Market Towns Chamber of Trade – Alnwick, Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth – and it is through this organisation, representing over 4,000 people working in the market towns, that we shall continue to collectively campaign, despite the threats of the local Lib Dem councillors and the continued lack of support of the Lib Dem county councillors, some of whom hold both posts.’