BREAKING: Proposals for car parking charges in Ely are dropped

Parking in Ely's car parks will remain free.

Parking in Ely's car parks will remain free. - Credit: Archant

PLANS to introduce car parking charges in Ely have been dropped at the eleventh hour, it was announced today.

A joint statement from Cllr Peter Moakes, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, and Cllr Will Burton from the City of Ely Council, said that the two councils had listened to feedback from residents and had decided to drop the plans.

A consultation on the proposals ran until March 1, with hundreds of residents and businesses submitting their objections.

The statement released by councillors Moakes and Burton said: “Reading the feedback we have received and listening carefully to the responses we have had, it is clear the introduction of car parking charges in Ely has become more contentious than ever before. It has become an issue which is diverting all of us from our main focus of delivering quality services for our residents.

“For this reason, we have decided not to progress with the implementation of car parking charges in Ely. We feel, due to a culmination of factors, now is simply the wrong time to introduce a scheme.”

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Andrew Olley, of the Ely Traders Association, hailed it as “fantastic news for Ely” and congratulated councillors for listening to the will of the people.

He said: “I would like to congratulate the councillors for seeing sense, it is fantastic news for Ely and gives businesses a little bit of hope for the future.

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“With a number of new supermarkets coming into Ely and all the free spaces they have brought, it would have been a decision that would have stuck in the memories of residents’ for a long time.

“The response of people to these proposals has been brilliant, it is a win for everybody in the city. We only have to look what happened in Newmarket to realise what impact these plans would have had on the city.

“I would just like to thank all the people who worked so hard behind the scenes to put pressure on the council and bring about this decision. People have worked incredibly hard.”

Councillors Moakes and Burton added that, at least until the next election, parking charges would not be considered again.

They said: “With the end of our proposals, the issues of managing a high demand for a limited number of spaces still remain and money which could have been invested in city centre initiatives from any surplus will no longer be possible.

“Clearly this decision will also have an impact on the District Council’s budget, which we will need to address over the forthcoming months to ensure we can deliver a balanced budget.

“Our focus, as always, will be on helping to deliver growth and employment in the local economy as well as providing the best services for our residents.

“It is the time to work together with businesses, communities and our partners to drive forward with projects which will have a lasting positive legacy for Ely and tackling the challenges which bring us success.”

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