Car park charges ‘must be scrapped’

Car parking protest
Car parking protest

A KIMBERLEY councillor says a plan to reduce car parking charges in Kimberley does not go far enough and has renewed calls to have them scrapped altogether.

Although a final decision has not yet been made, Broxtowe Borough Council has ‘recommended’ that charges in Victoria Street car park are reduced to £1 all day.

But town councillor Shane Easom says charging in the town was a ‘terrible decision’ in the first place and the council is just trying to ‘pacify people’.

“Nobody uses Victoria Street car park. This way you’ve still got to pay the staff to maintain and monitor the equipment. They (the council) just don‘t want to lose face,” he said.

“It’s just a bad decision that should never have been made and they are now just trying to pacify people.”

Following a recent review on car parks across the borough, the council has recommended to reduce charges down to £1 for the whole day on several car parks including Victoria Street in Kimberley and The Sun Inn car park in Eastwood.

The borough council’s overview and scrutiny committee presented a report at a cabinet meeting last month with the recommendation, and a final decision will be made in April.

After the charges were introduced in June 2010, more than 3,000 residents signed a protest petition.

Victoria Street in Kimberley was the most controversial because of the potential impact on trade and fears that narrow streets surrounding the car park were getting clogged with drivers trying to avoid the charges.

Cllr Easom said the council does not charge in leisure centre car parks and it should be an ‘even playing field’

“The businesses that they (the council) own and they run don’t have charges.

“I don’t think we should be charged to park in leisure centre car parks, don’t get me wrong, but it should be an even playing field.”

The councillor said shoppers should be given three hours free, instead of one.

“If you gave people three hours it would bring people in to Kimberley, but at the same time stop people using it for commuting. You can’t do your shopping in one hour.”

Council leader Cllr Milan Radulovic said car parking was a thorny issue.

“There’s no such thing as free parking – it’s either paid for by drivers or paid for by council tax payers in the borough.

“There are pros and cons on both sides and we have to take them into account to have a system that’s fair across the borough.”