Thursday, November 3, 2011

Liberal Democrats campaign for free parking?

I saw on the Huntingdonshire Liberal Democrat website that has come to life the following:

Lib Dems call for free parking for Christmas

October 31, 2011 10:16 AM
Huntingdon Liberal Democrats are launching their THREE 4 FREE Campaign today. 

"We are calling on Huntingdon District Council to help local businesses and residents this Christmas by providing FREE PARKING at all District Council Car Parks for the three weekends leading up to the festive season," comments Cllr. Mike Shellens, "We want to give local people every chance to support local shops and local jobs." 

Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokes, Martin Land, adds "By providing free parking on the 3rd and 4th, 10th and 11th and 17th and 18th December, HDC could show their support for our market towns of St Ives, Huntingdon and St Neots in these difficult economic times. This move could encourage residents to shop locally and not on-line or in Bedford, Cambridge or Peterborough." 

Except parking is already free on Sundays except at Hinchingbrooke Country Park. Saturdays sounds good. With HDC finances in such a state then how much will be lost by this initiative? What will have to be cut in its place? Car Parks are revenue for HDC. The Liberal Democrats have not fleshed the costs out.

Maybe the reason why Martin Land feels having Sunday free is such a good idea when it is already free is that Martin doesn't drive!
If the danger is people will drive to Bedford, Peterborough and Cambridge they will do so anyway. The higher parking costs and the fuel costs associated going to these towns will mean people will go there for better shops and are willing to pay to go and park there. Cutting 50 pence off the cost for parking for an hour will make no difference.

Good idea. Badly thought out. In the end just a gimmick.

If the Liberal Democrats and HDC want to attract more shoppers to St Neots then they need to change the shopping experience with larger retail units. Cutting the marginal cost of parking just means the Council taxpayer picks up the bill for this elsewhere.

1 comment:

St Ivian said...

In the Hunts Post this week HDC Cabinet Member Darren Tysoe expresses his astonishment at this move by the Lib Dems, as free parking is already being investigated. But they are 'looking at the costs'....and are only considering one Saturday. So we can assume in St Ives that it won't be the 3rd or 17th which are the busier Farmers' Market Saturdays.
If it happens will it be adequately publicised I wonder, and will the slots in the pay machines be blocked up ? Otherwise it will be just as it is on Sundays when those like Martin Land who don't know Sundays are free will continue to pay anyway !

We eagerly await the announcement from Mr Tysoe in the next few weeks.