Councillors and community relationships could reach 'new low' if parking changes take place (From Bournemouth Echo)
When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Councillors and community relationships could reach 'new low' if parking changes take place
CHRISTCHURCH councillors could plunge their relationship with the business community to a “new low”, if they choose to adopt controversial new parking charges proposed by officers.
That’s the claim made by the borough’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce president, Peter Watson-Lee, ahead of an important resources committee assessing parking charges today.
Despite 5,500 people putting pen to paper to support the Chamber of Trade’s “£1 for two hours” parking fee for town centre car parks, council officers are still urging members to reject the proposal.
Officers claim the proposal would leave them £34,000 out of pocket from a predicted income of just over £2.5million.
Mr Watson-Lee said: “The council officer’s recommendation is immensely disappointing.
“If the councillors go along with it, it amounts to a slap in the face to the town centre traders.
“The petition of 5,500 signatures is one of the biggest there has ever been and shows the tremendous strength of support from the public for this proposal.
“It is extraordinary that the council seems so out of touch with their constituents’ wishes.
“It would also be a major blow to the viability of the town centre.
“The exodus of shoppers to neighbouring towns and to the supermarkets and Castlepoint with their free parking will gather pace.
“Christchurch traders are working hard to make the town attractive, but they need help from their council and it is so very dispiriting that they seem unwilling to give that support.
“I fear they do not understand how demoralising their approach is. It would plunge the relationship between the council and the business community to a new low.
“The extraordinary thing is that we had worked with the council officers and had believed we had reached a conclusion which demonstrated the proposal would be cost neutral even without increased numbers – meaning if it was successful in bringing in new shoppers it could make money for the council as well as giving an essential boost to the town itself.
“For some reason those figures do not appear in the papers to be put before the committee.
“I urge everyone, traders and town centre users, to lobby their councillors as a matter of urgency before the meeting.”
...and £1 Fee for evenings too
Officers are also proposing to charge £1 from 7pm in town centre car parks.
At present, any parking between 7pm and 8am is free but officers are suggesting members approve the new charge despite objections from residents, the Alliance of Christchurch Residents Associations and the Regent Centre’s trustees.
They fear it would adversely affect the night-time economy and the Regent Centre.
But officers, in a report to the resources committee today, say although the charge will impact on night-time users of the Regent Centre, it will not have an impact on daytime users.
What are your thoughts on the proposed parkig changes?