The fair way to treat parking issue

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In response to David Woodard’s letter in the Morpeth Herald advocating the need for car-parking charges in Northumberland, he conveniently overlooks the fact that approximately half the county’s residents (in the south-east) have been enjoying free parking paid for by all Northumberland council taxpayers for the past four years.

Extending free parking to the rural north and west (where a car is in many instances an absolute necessity) is seen by many as a much fairer system.

As for car-parking charges being necessary to manage traffic and congestion, this was an unfounded argument of convenience by the last Liberal Democrat administration to raise revenue out of the market towns – does he really believe that setting the highest charges in Berwick was necessary to control congestion?

As for Morpeth, car-parking charges were reintroduced in 1998 and the reason given at the time was purely and simply to raise revenue for the former borough council to balance the books and had nothing to do with managing traffic.

Extending free parking to all towns in Northumberland is one way of treating the whole county in a fair and equal way.

At a time when High Streets are facing greater competition than ever before, there is no doubt that the removal of parking charges will help enormously to preserve our traditional town centres which are faced with continually increasing pressure from e-commerce and the likes of the MetroCentre and Silverlink offering acres of free parking.

CHARLES ROBINSON,

Vice-chairman,

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade