Council parking strategy criticised for not making 'sufficient enough recommendations'
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 16 Nov 2017
The council's car parking strategy has come under fire - with councillors feeling that it did not make "sufficient enough recommendations".
North East Lincolnshire Council commissioned consultancy firm Systra to look at the use and cost of the borough's car parks and resident parking schemes in order to develop a strategy that will aid the council with its plans for growth by ensuring there is a an effective approach for on and off street parking.
It was recommended in the report by Systra to reduce the price of resident parking schemes from £80 to £45, however certain councillors felt that this was the only clear proposal made, with much of the report telling them "things that they already know".
Humberston and New Waltham ward councillor, John Fenty
Speaking at a meeting of the North East Lincolnshire Council Economy Scrutiny Panel, Humberston and New Waltham Conservative Councillor John Fenty leveled the most criticism of the report, believing that it should have given firm recommendations about what should be done in the borough with regards to underused car parks and the price of using them.
He said: "In my opinion this report really only tells us things that we already know, and I was hoping to see a number of proposals made so that we would be able to give them further scrutiny, and other than the reduction in price of resident parking schemes, this report has not made any.
"We want to know what car parks to keep, what should be sold, what changes we need to make in the borough, because people are asking us what is going to happen and this report does little to advise us on that.
Burgess Street car park
"We have gone through all of the information they have provided before, and I feel that we could have created this in a working group, instead of commissioning an independent organisation.
"In my view we need someone to make some decent recommendations."
However this view was refuted by Labour Councillors Karl Wilson and Dave Watson who felt that the report gave the council a basis to work on for the future that will be developed over time.
Councillor Wilson said: "The Cabinet was asked to do an independent review and they have come up with what I feel is a clear strategy that can be developed over time, and we have got to start somewhere."
Councillor Ian Barfield, pictured on Abbey Drive West, with the North East Lincolnshire Council parking review. (Image: Rick Byrne)
Liberal Democrat Councillor Ian Barfield also levied criticism at the cost of the resident parking schemes, feeling that they were "imposing a tax on residents unfortunate enough to own a car."
He said: "The report states that the council will achieve a surplus of £5,400 under these new resident parking schemes, but the council has said that it wants to price the scheme so that it will only break even.
"It seems to me that it is just imposing a tax on those residents who are unfortunate enough to own a car and live in an area where they need residents' parking, and I feel that is highly unfair."
However, council officers and councillors stated that this new price had already been firmly agreed, and that the schemes would be reviewed on an annual basis.
The north promenade, Cleethorpes.
Councillor Barfield was also concerned over the underused car parks in the East Marsh, saying that he would like to know the plans for them as he has been made aware that a number of private groups are interested in purchasing them.
There was also concern from Councillors that evening parking charges along the North Promenade could be increased, which Councillor Gaynor Rogers said would be a detriment to the local businesses along the promenade.
The car parking strategy is set to be adopted by North East Lincolnshire Council Cabinet, and could come into force before Christmas. It is likely to be on the agenda for its meeting on December 20.
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