Sharp U-turn on parking policy

THE Lib Dems who run our county council have at last bowed to pressure and accepted that elected members must decide the details of the council’s car parking strategy and we are now to have a cross-party working group to thrash this out.

This is what should have happened two or three years ago. At the council meeting on July 27, we saw the bizarre spectacle of the Lib Dems, split and in disarray, voting against their own parking strategy.

Lib Dem bosses had, only one month earlier, voted to allow council officers complete discretion to decide different parking tariffs for different areas.

At last week’s full council meeting, some Lib Dems voted to retain this, but the rest voted to defer charging levels to the new working group.

This latest U-turn was so sharp that it seems to have left half of the group behind.

In the negotiations that will follow, Northumberland Conservatives will continue to press for the approach we think fairest; a permit allowing free parking for residents for two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon; free parking on Sundays and bank holidays, and harmonisation of parking charges across the county.

So, thanks to the Lib Dems’ failure to grasp the nettle, the unfair situation whereby Alnwick residents pay to park while residents of south east Northumberland do not, is still unresolved.

Coun Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland Conservatives

Coun Gordon Castle, Alnwick