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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Call to arms over town centre parking charges

People in Maryport are being urged to join the fight against planned on-street parking charges for the town.

MEETING: Gill Elliott, of Maryport

Cumbria County Council has proposed charging drivers to park on streets across the county to help it save £80 million over three years.

The council believes the move could raise £700,000 a year to plug a hole in its finances.

But Maryport business and community leaders fear the move could spell disaster for town centre traders, who are already struggling.

Gill Elliott, chairman of the Love Maryport town team and town councillor, will hold a meeting to discuss the proposal.

She urged everyone who opposed the plan to think about other ways the county council could make savings to avoid the need for on-street parking charges.

Mrs Elliott, who owns a town centre shop building, said: “I foresee businesses closing down if this goes ahead.

“People will just stop coming into town if they introduce charges. Parking’s extremely limited in Maryport town centre anyway.

“It’s essential that it remains uncharged. People should consider other options to try to come up with some workable solution.

“If we want to preserve Maryport we have to look at things to encourage more visitor footfall.

“I have never come across anywhere, even the size of Workington, that has on-street parking charges. They have only been in bigger places.”

She added that there would be strength in numbers if traders, residents and the town council came together to oppose the plan.

Her call came after Keith Little, Maryport county councillor and cabinet member responsible for highways and transport, threw down the gauntlet to the community to help find alternative cost savings rather than just opposing those put forward.

Councillor Little said: “This proposal was not done on a whim.

“We’ve thought long and hard about what our priorities must be in this stripped-down financial climate and we’re having to make some difficult decisions.

“As is often the case, no one who has voiced their opposition to on-street charging has suggested where else the money should come from. It’s important for people to have their say.

“It currently costs us to enforce parking restrictions. Is it not right that we should recoup these costs from motorists?”

Carol Tindall, Maryport mayor, said: “If people really don’t want to pay parking fees they’re going to have to come up with some other thing they’re going to be happy to lose or to pay for.

“It’s hard times and everybody’s feeling the pinch.

“We are struggling to attract people into the town centre shops.

“If they’re going to have to pay to park it’s only natural that people are going to go to places where there is free parking.

“If people have any ideas on how the money could be saved please come forward. They have got to save the money one way or another.”

Traders in Cockermouth have already launched a petition opposing the county council’s proposals.

Anyone with ideas can put them in a suggestions box at Her Citi on Crosby Street so they can be discussed by the Love Maryport group.

People can also respond to the cuts consultation document, available online at www.cumbria.gov.uk/ourfuture and in libraries.

l Letters – Page 10

Have your say

Town centers C/mouth,W/haven M/port and smaller towns are fighting for survival and all Keith Little wants to do is drive the shopper to the out of town free parking..

Posted by Bill on 8 November 2013 at 23:52

After reading this story and reviewing the Council website ,
Review charge for green/garden waste.
charge £25 per year per property (1 bin)
Residents will pay over the phone or direct debit and will be issued with a sticker to attach to their bin, no sticker no collection.
It works in my area you choose if you want the service or not.

Posted by Graeme Tallantire on 8 November 2013 at 19:15

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