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Lib Dems call for a realistic refund scheme to fix the Conservative Car Park Charges cock-up

July 18, 2011 2:32 PM
By WCLD release

Wiltshire's Liberal Democrats have branded the Conservatives' proposed car parking refund scheme as "too little too late". Few details of the scheme, which is still months away from being introduced, are known. However, the 'cabinet' member for Highways and Transport, Dick Tonge is on record as suggesting that refunds for parking would be issued if £30 or more was spent.

Lib Dem Group Leader Jon Hubbard commented "Dick Tonge suggests that if people spend £30 or more in a town centre shop, they could get a refund on their parking charges. What world does he live in? This suggestion shows again how out of touch the Conservatives are; £30 is a lot of money to most people. This won't help in our Market Towns where people pop in for a few bits and pieces."

Jon said "I have been speaking to traders who face going, or who have already gone, out of business. They are seeing firsthand how these ill thought through car parking charges, designed to squeeze as much money from residents as possible, gave no thought to the damage to the local economy. The Lib Dem policy remains that Towns and Parishes have to be able to set their own pricing, and take ownership of their own car parks. Local views have been so often ignored by this Conservative administration, but we believe local people will know what suits their area best."


Lib Dem Councillor for Chippenham Monkton, Chris Caswill, said "Of course, Wiltshire Lib Dems welcome that the Conservatives are finally paying attention to this issue, which we raised last year. The Conservatives were told it would be a problem each time it came up for debate, so why didn't they listen? Now it seems we might need new machines, as we've just seen in Melksham, to allow a refund scheme to work. How much Council Tax money has already been spent and wasted on administering these charges?"

Chippenham Lib Dem Councillor Bill Douglas, said "How many retailers are now up against the wall, or even closed, thanks to this misguided policy? Just one example is the Borough Parade Car Park in Chippenham. This time last year it had almost 80% occupancy. Now, that's dropped to just 67%. People are deserting our town centres. The Conservatives' suggestions are from cloud cuckoo land. Councillor Tonge has not thought through the £30 refund scheme. We need the review to be completed urgently and make sure there are real changes to the Conservatives' car parking charges."

Lib Dem Councillor for Till and Wylye Valley, Ian West said "In Salisbury, local people are incensed by having to pay through the nose for even a brief visit. It's yet another tax on rural people who need to visit Salisbury. The Conservative administration doesn't understand how upset people are about this issue. We need this review to be completed before it's too late for the town's traders."