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Parking - RA and Tories disagree about how to agree

April 24, 2011 12:00 PM

Pay & Display ticket macineThe final meeting of the 2007-2011 Borough Council once again descended into farce as RA and Tory councillors competed and disagreed about the best way to endorse the popular motion opposing Pay & Display charging for on-street parking, originally proposed by the Liberal Democrats.

At the February meeting Cllr Jonathan Lees encapsulated the indignation felt by local residents by proposing that:

"This Council agrees that the county council's proposals to charge for on-street parking near small shopping parades and outside doctors' surgeries are not sustainable as they will threaten the economic viability of small retailers and businesses in and around Epsom and Ewell, and potentially target the vulnerable."

Rather than debate this whilst it was topical, the RA sent it off for discussion at the Environment Committee, who duly reported back to the full council with a watered-down version. Cllr Lees was unwilling to accept this and again proposed his original wording. Although the Conservatives backed this, it was voted down by the RA.

The RA then also proposed to reject the wording they had agreed in Committee and substitute a version similar to the one they had just rejected, with some additional wording about sending the council's view to the Surrey authorities.

Everyone voted for this version, even though this meant Tories voting against their own party's policy at County Hall, but general agreement was short-lived.

The Tories then proposed to amend the agreed wording, to the effect that the first half-hour of parking should be free, apparently oblivious to the twin implications that charges would apply after half an hour and that in most cases it would mean allowing parking for more than the current 30 minute maximum, rather than benefit traders by increasing turn-over.

No-one else was prepared to support this illogical position and the motion was finally agreed, with the Tories now abstaining.

The Mayor confirmed, in response to Cllr Colin Taylor, that he would have the pleasure of personally signing a letter to the Tory cabinet member for Transport at County Hall informing him of the Borough Council's view.