Saturday, 15 December 2012

Published on Monday 10 December 2012 Berwick Press “It’s encouraging that despite the savings the council needs to make, it has found a way to scrap Sunday parking charges in Berwick. This move will encourage more people to come into the town on Sundays to eat, shop and socialise and will be a real boost to the town’s traders. A statement carried by the Berwick Advertiser made by Coun Isabel Hunter

 Berwick Advertiser
Published on Friday 14 December 2012 14:00

LABOUR politicians have called on Berwick Lib Dem Isabel Hunter to back their campaign to end ‘the unfair lottery of car parking charges’.

The call comes after Coun Hunter, member for Berwick West with Ord, welcomed the reduction in Berwick’s parking charges to put them in line with other market towns, as well as the removal of Sunday charges.
Labour leader Coun Grant Davey issued a statement claiming that Coun Hunter defied her Lib Dem colleagues to come out in favour of a parking charges amnesty the week before Christmas.
Coun Davey said: “We’re now seeing the true face of Northumberland’s Liberal Democrats. In one breath, they label free car parking ‘immoral and irresponsible’ and in the next breath, they back the plan ‘as good for local businesses’.
“The truth is the Liberal Democrat car parking policy which rakes in nearly £2m from some areas of Northumberland is unfair and it’s time for them to cut their losses and admit they are wrong.
“Our policy is crystal clear – we’ll introduce free car parking, in a planned manner, working with towns and parishes because we think they are best placed to judge whether free car parking will benefit an area not politicians in County Hall.”
Labour has now launched a ‘fair’s fair’ campaign to highlight inequality and unfairness in car parking charges.
Coun Davey said: “We think this is a simple matter of fairness and it’s not political. Towns like Morpeth, Berwick and Hexham shouldn’t be hit with, what amounts to, a stealth tax on motorists. At a time when businesses and customers are facing an unprecedented squeeze, we think the council should play fair with the whole county.”
However, Coun Hunter has dismissed Labour claims that she defied her party to back a decision which introduced free car parking in Berwick the week before Christmas as ‘totally inaccurate’.
She said: “I was not at the last meeting of Northumberland County Council and therefore didn’t take part in the vote on Conservative leader Peter Jackson’s cobbled together motion, so Coun Davey’s claim that I back this so-called ‘free car parking plan’ is totally inaccurate.
“The Liberal Democrats running Northumberland have always been clear that charges exist for traffic management purposes and, as there is less traffic to manage on Sundays, it is possible to remove charges without causing the utter chaos that the Tory/Labour week of ‘free’ parking will cause.
“The council has been given very little time to try and implement it by the other two parties.”

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