A message from the Deputy Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Cllr Neil Phillips:
“Two years ago we started providing free car parking from 6pm, 7 days a week and a £1.00 flat fee on Sundays. I am sure that the residents who visit the Abbey Theatre, the Civic Hall or go into town in the evening welcomed that move, although it reduced income. We also have season permits whereby you can park for £1.00 a day, introduced to help employees or those who work in town and other residents who spend money in the town. We also made two car parks free in our borough. We are 97% on target for our forecast income from parking charges. Of course, we would love that figure to be 100%, but this reflects a national downward trend that we are starting to address by strongly supporting the Transforming Nuneaton Project.
“The Conservative proposals for parking would cost the Council money that we can’t afford to put at risk. At the last budget the Tories proposed £1.00 for three hours parking, a pledge that would cost the Council £281,000, and would only have lasted for 9 months, not even a year. Of that £281,000, the Tories wanted to take £273,560 from General Fund balances, using unallocated reserves as a one off. A one off use of reserves which would reduce reserves close to the minimum acceptable level. I must admit, the headline of “three hours parking for £1” looks good, but scratch away at the surface, and all we can see is an expensive Tory gimmick, and not a responsible proposal for parking charges.
“What’s more, the Tories also proposed to introduce a 5hr charge at £4.80, a 6 hour charge at £6.00, increase the 24hr charge from £6.50 to £8.00 , and that was just at the short stay car parks.
“Maybe if the Tories were serious about bringing more people into the town, they would, like us in the Labour group, put pressure on Warwickshire County Council and bus companies to reduce extortionate ticket prices, and join the West Midlands Transport Authority. The West Midlands Transport Authority would provide our borough a massive opportunity to improve our transport network and to encourage the use of public transport. Bus tickets are far more expensive than a car park charge.
“Labour will not take a gamble on their politically motivated, headline grabbing nonsense. We are not like Conservative led Northamptonshire, Labour will not let Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council go bust.”