LETTER: ‘Councillors should vote according to their consciences when it comes to car parking charges’

Car parking charges are back on the agenda with Fenland District Council

Car parking charges are back on the agenda with Fenland District Council - Credit: Archant

After the Government’s autumn statement last year I tweeted to the effect that the decision to allow councils to retain their own business rates should be the death knell for any notion of paid parking in Fenland.

In truth, it should never have been under consideration in the first place. It saddens me to say that it was clearly on the agenda for some of our leading councillors even whilst they were asking for support during the election campaign; that they didn’t mention it is an example of the sort of poor politics that I campaign against in my blog One Nation Warrior.

I am proud to be a Conservative. One of the reasons is that I understand the importance of enterprise - one of Conservatism’s core values; a recognition that strong business and enterprising behaviour is what drives innovation and ambition, both of which are qualities that a modern society needs in order to thrive.

For the first time in a long time, our national government has incentivised local government to be more enterprising, to allow them to benefit from driving economic growth by keeping the business rates that generate from any growth they can make happen.

That means Fenland District Council will benefit from thriving town centres, from reducing vacant properties in our high streets and from taking new approaches to attract and grow businesses.

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To consider introducing any form of parking charges, threatening the future viability hundreds of small businesses, when given such an opportunity does not make sense. It certainly isn’t a form of Conservatism that I recognise.

It is interesting to note that the survey that councillors were asked to respond to, never even mentioned the benefits that could come from encouraging business growth nor did it mention that introducing car parking charges will result in a reduction in business rate receipts and therefore create additional pressure on council finances in future years.

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I often talk about my desire to see a reduction in the number of times elected representatives are forced to vote on party political lines.

I hope that the leadership at Fenland recognises that the residents they serve expect councillors to be able to vote using their consciences when it comes to a formal decision on car parking charges.


Whittlesey Town Council

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