Failing miserably on parking

I WISH to pass comment on some of the points made by Councillor Ken Brown in his letter in last week’s Herald.

First of all, the disc system allowing free parking ran successfully under the supervision of Castle Morpeth Borough Council for a good number of years until it was abandoned in 1998.

The well-publicised reason given was purely and simply to raise revenue and not because the scheme did not work. I would also question Ken’s assertion that the only effective way to ensure residents get a car parking space when they want it is to charge.

This is clearly not the case in the south east of our county and is not the case in Morpeth where residents using the Shoppers’ Permit can park free of charge.

We are, nevertheless, pleased to see that Coun Brown acknowledges the unfairness of a system where some parts of Northumberland pay charges and others do not.

It is a pity that our Liberal Democrat unitary councillors will not follow his lead.

As for the comment ‘the sooner Northumberland gets a countywide car parking strategy applying to all areas, the better’, it should be remembered that the Northumberland Parking Strategy was approved last summer although after months of consultation at considerable expense.

This document fails miserably to address the fundamental question of why some areas pay for parking and others do not, nor does the strategy recognise or even attempt to address the unfairness of the present system.

Explaining this away as something which will be decided as a result of yet more local consultation and “the budget process” should be seen as nothing more than a delaying tactic/cop out.

As a chamber, we supported many of the proposals in the strategy although remain critical of the administration’s failure to achieve there often repeated assertion that they wanted to have ‘one policy which was fair and consistent across Northumberland’.

CHARLES ROBINSON

Chairman of Morpeth Chamber of Trade Car Parking Sub Committee