FREE PARKING ‘FEVER’ REACHES NEW PEAK AS DEMAND FOR ‘DISCS’ GROWS
Berwick, Alnwick and Morpeth see huge rise in resident free parking ‘discs’
Labour politicians across Northumberland are heralding the introduction of free parking across the county as demand for residents ‘free parking discs’ continued to grow.
Demand for the discs has been steadily rising in Berwick and Alnwick but Morpeth is leading the way with over 5,000 discs issued to date. The introduction of free parking was a manifesto promise in last May’s elections for Labour and they point to this measure as a ‘win-win’ for both local businesses and residents with a predicted ‘gold rush effect’ for local companies. The administration at County Hall are privately highlighting a ‘real shot in the arm for the local economy with an expected £500,000 bonanza with hopes that the measure will also lead to more new jobs being created.
Portfolio member Ian Swithenbank said
‘This measure has proved a really popular measure which will help safeguard and create jobs by making it easier to access our towns across the county. For the first time in many years, local communities have been able to decide whether they want free parking and how they want to implement it. Morpeth is leading the way with over 5,000 ‘discs’ issued to date but demand is steadily picking up in the other towns who’ve introduced this scheme’.
Labour are pointing to this measure as real and tangible help for both hard pressed residents and struggling businesses who have seen their commercial advantages undermined by restrictive parking measures and they’re pointing to this measure as a real example of the difference between what they’ve christened ‘the phony council tax freeze’ and their approach to the first budget of the new administration which saw council tax rise slightly to ensure long term stability.
Grant Davey, leader of the Council and the Labour group said
‘Communities will notice the difference of a fake council tax freeze offered by our own local version of the coalition and our ‘honest’ deal with Northumberland. The last Liberal Democrat administration got used to relying on ‘parking stealth taxes’ and failed to tackle excessive top tier management. We’ve tackled both within 6 months and we’re now on course to save £1.2m from our top management ‘shake up’.