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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Barrow council urges delay on onstreet parking charges

DELAY the roll out of on-street parking meters for 12 months, county council chiefs are being urged.

Barrow Borough Council has sent the message to Cumbria County Council as the Carlisle-based authority gets ready to formalise plans for a controversial roadside charging scheme.

It is hoped a year-long deferment would allow time for an investigation into traffic flow around the town centre to be carried out. The results of an ongoing consultation over the potential creation of a business improvement district for Barrow could also be completed, claimed Barrow Borough Council leader, Councillor Dave Pidduck. He said he wanted to strike the best deal for the town.

He said: “People seem to think the borough council is silent about on-street parking charges. “But we are working very hard to make sure we get the best outcome for Barrow.

“We are talking to the county council about this, and what we are saying is that we need time to draw breath here and sit down together to look at how it will impact on us. We have asked for a deferment for work on our town centre projects to progress. We are now waiting for a response.”

The controversial roadside tariff is being introduced by the county council as the authority struggles to slash more than £80m from its books over the next three years.

Furness MP John Woodcock said it is imperative traders are not disadvantaged by the fees.

He said: “I am really concerned by the way our local traders cannot compete on a level playing field with supermarkets offering free parking, but we should not fall for the idea that there are easy answers to the disproportionately severe cuts being imposed on communities in the north of England.

“Councils are understandably trying to find ways to protect vital local services but they must also show shopkeepers that they can find new ways to give our high streets a boost rather than driving trade away.”

The Federation of Small Businesses in Barrow has welcomed the agreement of the county council’s Local Area Committee members to look again at options for the roll out of the roadside tariff. On July 14 the committee will have the final say on where any solar-powered parking meters should be installed.

Phil Collier, FSB Furness branch chairman, said: “With expert input from businesses who have been at the heart of the town centre for many years, we have been able to put forward alternative ideas for how the proposals could be introduced without damaging town centre businesses and traders.”

l A PICNIC protest against the proposed on-street parking meters and changes to resident permits is planned.

The Windermere and Bowness Action Group invites people to join its Jolly Brolly Picnic on The Glebe, Bowness, on July 12, from 4pm to 5pm.

Those attending will have the chance to sign a petition opposing the parking proposals.

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