ONE of the unexpected consequences of the establishment of a unitary authority in Northumberland in 2009 was the row that blew up over car parking. When different councils charged different rates for parking it seemed – if not entirely fair – then at least tolerable. But now the same council charges drivers to park in Berwick, Morpeth and Alnwick while it lets motorists in Blyth, Ashington, Bedlington and Cramlington park for free. This is clearly a tricky issue for the Liberal Democrat-led administration at County Hall. Rival parties have not made it any easier by promising to get rid of charges if they are in a position of power following May’s elections. Petitions containing thousands of names have been handed in to the council demanding a special meeting to debate the issue. It may be that the current administration feels it really can’t do anything more than it already has. But simply sitting on the petitions is not an adequate or acceptable response by the council.