Data on revenue taken from North Norfolk car parks, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by North Norfolk Labour Party, strengthen the case against planned price increases, campaigners say. Labour are calling the planned parking fee increase a “regressive stealth tax” as figures reveal that North Norfolk car parks took in £1.451 million in the year 2010/11 but only cost £277,000 to maintain. The party is opposing plans to introduce charges at car parks in North Walsham and Fakenham and to introduce evening charges across the district which they say can be avoided by using a seasonal tariff that takes the revenue from summer tourism instead. They are writing to councillors urging them to support their alternative and plan to support campaigners outside the full council budget meeting on Wednesday. Tim Bartlett, chair of North Norfolk Labour says: “The Conservatives have made a big deal about freezing council tax, but are basically asking those who need to park closer to shops, typically the elderly and less mobile, to subsidise the council budget. These parking charges are a stealth tax, they are regressive and they are bad for local trade.” Labour’s 2011 election manifesto committed it to a council tax freeze and the party has acknowledged that the Conservatives were left a hole in the budget by the outgoing Liberal Democrats. However, it argues that its seasonal tariff plan can plug that hole without taking more from locals. The newly released figures back Labour’s argument by showing how significantly tourism…
North Norfolk Labour Party has invited the leader of North Norfolk District Council to discussions about proposed changes to car parking fees ahead of the budget at full council later this month. The local Labour group will use the meeting to push for the Tory group to adopt the ‘alternative parking plan’ which would see a seasonal tariff implemented on car parks across the district. At the very least the group will appeal to the council to look at other options on the table from the party, which includes using some of the £87,000 left over in the budget to scrap plans for an evening car parking charge. The invitation, sent by North Norfolk Labour Chairman Tim Bartlett, states: “There has been much constructive discussion between parties on the issues around your car parking proposals and we feel an opportunity to meet and review the suggestions we have put forward may well prove productive.” There is widespread opposition to the District Council’s proposals for increased parking charges in the district from local community groups to town councils and local businesses. Residents have also been logging on to the website at www.parkingplan.co.uk to send their comments straight to Helen Eales.
North Norfolk Labour Party is urging North Norfolk District Council to spend some of the £87,000 leftover in the budget to soften the blow for shoppers, motorists, and community groups. North Norfolk Labour Party is recommending that the council uses some of the money to alleviate the proposed charges for evening car parking in the district. The Conservative District Council has hinted that the money may be kept back in reserves for 2013 – something that the Tory-led government has previously spoken out against. Tim Bartlett, chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “Evening parking charges would squeeze the lifeblood out of our town centres. Local businesses and community groups are rightly concerned about the impact on the local economy and ‘the big society’. The district council should think again and scrap their plan for evening parking charges.” North Norfolk Labour is also encouraging the District Council to adopt its alternative parking fees plan. Support the plan by visiting www.parkingplan.co.uk
North Norfolk Labour Party has expressed concern about an increase of “a minimum of 10%” in fares on North Norfolk buses. Sanders Coaches blames the rising costs on cuts in bus subsidies from Norfolk County Council and the price of petrol. However, North Norfolk Labour is concerned that this could have an impact on the most vulnerable in society, and are calling on Norfolk County Council to reconsider the cuts to bus subsidies in rural areas in the next budget. Jono Read, vice-chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “Rises in bus fares are inevitable when Norfolk County Council is cutting bus subsidies, but I fear that increased costs at a time when services are being cut could leave many feeling isolated. We are encouraged to use public transport, but with announcements like this it makes it all the more difficult. I would ask that Norfolk County Council re-considers their approach to bus subsidies in rural Norfolk”.
Local businesses and residents are invited to write to the council through Labour’s parkingplan.co.uk website.
North Norfolk Labour has condemned new plans by North Norfolk District Council to charge for parking in the evening in local towns, claiming it will hit businesses and community groups that are already struggling. The local Labour group has criticised the poorly thought out proposals which would see a charge come into effect for parking between 6pm and 11pm. Labour fears that the new charges will have a knock-on effect on struggling pubs, clubs, entertainment venues, and community centres in the area – expected to hit at the same time evening bus services are being cut. Tim Bartlett, the chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “The Conservatives talk about the ‘Big Society’ supporting community groups and even the local pub, but at a time when these are struggling our local councils are about to make it even more of a struggle. They are cutting the number of buses coming to our towns, and now they are going to charge drivers to park in our town after hours. Over the last week business owners have used our website to voice their frustration at the leader of the council about planned increased parking charges, and we expect more to do so after this announcement. We would ask the District Council to think again and to back our alternative parking plan”. Local businesses and residents are invited to write to the council through Labour’s parkingplan.co.uk website.
Listen back to the plan being mentioned on BBC Radio Norfolk here. You can sign up to our plan by visiting www.parkingplan.co.uk and add your thoughts on Twitter by using the hashtag #parkingplan.
North Norfolk residents are being urged by North Norfolk Labour Party to write to the District Council objecting to proposals for increased car parking charges in ‘better off’ towns, and to support a seasonal tariff instead. The local Labour group has set up a website – www.parkingplan.co.uk – where people can add their contact details and send the email directly to Helen Eales, the leader of the council. In recent months the ruling Conservative group has come under pressure from local businesses and parish councils to re-consider their plans, now North Norfolk Labour is hoping businesses and residents will back their alternative parking plan. Tim Bartlett, the chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “The Conservative plan to increase parking charges in towns they deem ‘better-off’ will split the district in half. Not only will this be a further assault on their household budgets at a time of rising costs and stagnant incomes, it will harm town centre trade too. Labour proposes the introduction of a seasonal tariff system with modest increases in parking charges during the summer months, off-set by reductions in the winter. This would mean that for local people parking charges remain the same over the course of the year, with the additional cost passed on to summer tourists. We hope that local people and businesses will use our website to make representations to the District Council making it clear they back the alternative”.
North Norfolk Labour Party has expressed their disappointment that Helen Eales, the Leader of North Norfolk District Council, has rejected their invitation to meet about a proposed increase in car parking fees in North Norfolk. The Labour Party had hoped that a meeting would provide an opportunity to discuss further their alternative parking plan that would instead introduce a seasonal tariff and hoped, at the very least, to urge the leader to spend some of the £89,000 surplus scrapping planned evening parking charges. Helen Eales’ response to the party states that Conservative proposals were passed through Cabinet and Full Council “without opposition” and added that the topic could not be brought back to discussions for six months in accordance with NNDC Constitution. She instead would reconsider their approach later in the year. However, discussions continued on the subject in the Overview and Scrutiny meetings just this week, and the budget could still be amended next week when it goes to Full Council. The surplus money in the budget has also yet to reach Full Council. Tim Bartlett, chair of North Norfolk Labour Party said: “Local residents are rightly up in arms about NNDC’s plans for hiking car park charges. Higher parking fees and the end of free evening parking will hit many of our town centres and local businesses. So why won’t the council leader meet local Labour Party representatives to discuss our sensible alternative proposal? And why does she hide behind process and incorrectly tell us that the Budget…