Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072
Berwick Chamber of Trade back ‘fair parking in Northumberland’ petition
Shops in town to collect signatures before 26 Feb deadline
Berwick Chamber of Trade have become the first major Chamber of Trade in the county to back the petition to introduce a ‘fair parking system across Northumberland’ and have agreed to start collecting signatures in the shops of the town.
The petition closes on 26 Feb and will lead to a debate on car parking charges across Northumberland after closure at the council’s Petitions Committee chaired by Councillor Ian Swithenbank. It is hoped that the public campaign and renewed discussion about the issue of parking charges which Labour have branded ‘a parking stealth tax’ will send a strong message to the Liberal administration as it considers, what could be its final budget.
Labour councillors have highlighted that the petition would be a ‘very visible way to send a message to County Hall’ about the current inequality which underpins parking charges across the county.
For instance, visitors to Morpeth, Berwick, Alnwick and Hexham have to pay parking charges while areas like Blyth, Cramlington and Ashington pay nothing. This raises between £1.96m and £5m in income from charges and fines but Labour disputes the figure. Labour also dispute reasons given by Lib Dem Cabinet member Andrew Tebbutt that ‘charges are needed to deal with congestion’ pointing out that there is no evidence that the council have undertaken any recent study into problems of congestion in Northumberland’s towns.
Berwick Chamber of Trade’s John Haswell said
‘After printing out the petition form today, I have personally collected just over 280 names and signatures in one afternoon. It didn't take long and it wasn't hard to do, Berwick's residents are more than ready to put their name to this partition as they feel this town has been milked to the hilt and it’s about time it stopped. This petition will send out a strong message to the council that it must do more for traders and the residents in Berwick in these tough economic conditions. We will be making the petition available through the local traders and shops of the town so don't hold back, get in and sign it’.
Labour group leader Grant Davey said
‘I hope the council will take notice of the campaign to highlight the damaging inequality in car parking charges across Northumberland’.