IN response to Mark Horton’s letter, here are several examples of how some of the Lib Dems policies actions and non-actions have done economic harm to the town.
Car parking – as mentioned by Mark Horton.
For the four years the Lib Dems were in power they consistently refused to give Morpeth free parking stating excuses such as charges are used for traffic management control and the charges don’t affect the businesses in the town, even though the very same businesses were consistently telling them that the charges were having a significant detrimental effect on jobs and trade and discouraging shoppers from the town.
The Lib Dems also ignored many reports and surveys from sources such as Chambers of Trade, British Chamber of Commerce and Mary Portas that car parking charges have a substantial negative effect on high streets.
The only reason we are now getting free car parking is that the Lib Dems have been voted out of power, if they were still in power we would not have free car parking.
I am truly astonished but pleasantly surprised that Mark Horton and other Lib Dem town councillors have now seen the light and that they want to celebrate free car parking, was However, they are four years too late, the economic damage has already been done. At the height of the recession when businesses in Morpeth needed a boost such as free parking, where were the Morpeth Lib Dems, why weren’t they standing up for Morpeth then?
The major road works – again, as mentioned by Mark Horton.
Everyone knew that utilities work was essential, but the Chamber of Trade also realised that it would cause major disruption to residents and could be devastating to the businesses in Morpeth.
In anticipation of this the Chamber of Trade, three months prior to the work starting asked the Lib Dem administration to give us free car parking for the duration of the works so that Morpeth could be advertised as ‘open for business’ with the bonus of free parking.
The Lib Dem administration refused this request.
In the following weeks/months, every business in the town was severely affected. Many businesses struggled just to survive, and some never recovered. We almost lost Applebys book shop, one of the jewels in Morpeth’s crown.
All these facts were widely publicised on TV, radio and in the local press.
Again and again the traders asked for help from the Lib Dem administration, their response was: “We are monitoring the situation.”
Nero fiddling while Rome burns springs to mind. Morpeth councillors should have been knocking down the door to the leadership of their party to demand action to help Morpeth, again, why weren’t the Lib Dems standing up for Morpeth?
The debacle of the traffic lights.
As soon as they were installed it was immediately evident that they were not working, except to the Lib Dems.
It took a giant groundswell of public opinion and the formation of the Lights Out campaign to force them to change their minds.
At a time when Morpeth needed strong and decisive leadership and the lights removed, all we got were meetings, talking shops, highly expensive consultants and 18 months of more economic pain to an already fragile economy.
Eventually, some Morpeth Lib Dem councillors did say that the lights were not working, but it was too little too late.
Why weren’t Morpeth Lib Dem councillors demanding action from their party?
Always doing what is right for the town before party politics, that Mark, would be standing up for Morpeth.