Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Will those who were wrong apologise?

I was intrigued by a document issued by HDC on the footfall numbers in St Neots. This was down by 3.6% in St Neots. But Huntingdon had a 3.8% decrease in footfall. Indeed across the UK the decrease in footfall was 4%. Only St Ives saw an increase in footfall numbers. With all the dire predictions on the introduction of car park charges destroying the Town the footfall hasn't significantly decreased over and above the UK average.

Will those who were involved with Car Park protest which sparked a small demonstration but little else actually apologise for getting things wrong?

Back in August this pantomime resulted in a protest march over the imposition of 20 pence an hour - free evenings and Sundays at the Riverside Car Park. Whilst these protesters were mounting their campaign this blog doggedly pointed to the utter uselessness of this protest. With the announcement of more shops opening and a higher footfall than the doom sayers expected it just shows that the public led by local politicians can take the wrong decisions.

So who should apologise? I list those below starting with Councillors:

Town Mayor Gordon Thorpe said: "We have already been advised there has been a 6 per cent downturn in footfall and charging for parking will only increase that downward trend, as people will be unwilling to pay when, for the same price, they could go to Bedford, Cambridge or Peterborough.

"Town mayor, Cllr Gordon Thorpe described the news as “bitterly disappointing” predicting it would have a “devastating impact” on the town’s trade.

“HDC has chosen to ignore the people of St Neots. People who visit the town will now be out of pocket and once we lose shoppers we won’t get them back.”

Cllr Farrer who said: "...he would consider going Independent if the 3 hours scheme did not go through." It didn't and Cllr Farrer didn't resign.

Steve van de Kerkhove said:

"the impact on the town would be immediate with shops and businesses suffering during an already difficult economic period."
“This is going to be tough on the town. All you have to do is look at all the empty shops in High Street to see that the town is already suffering. We should be trying to increase footfall not drive shoppers away.

Town Councillor Jennifer Bird predicted that the move could result in retail businesses closing.

Of the others:

Jon Mountfort amongst his website full of lies said:

They (HDC) will bankrupt our shops
We will lose the Thursday Market

Then there were the statements made on the Facebook site.

Well the charges haven't kill the shops. I see another shop has opened in Huntingdon Street in the old Choices video outlet. Worx is going to become a games lounge despite Town Council opposition. Trade hasn't been killed off by the introduction of a 20 pence an hour charge at the Riverside. Footfall maybe down and just less than Huntingdon and just above the UK average.

HDC was right to impose charges as there is a big hole in the revenue. I see no alternative.

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