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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Hundreds sign up to halt Barrow parking charges

SIGNATURES have been flooding in calling for a re-think over plans to pass controversial on-street parking charges.

Cumbria County Council’s Barrow committee last week agreed to start a consultation period over proposals to put parking meters in parts of 12 streets. A proposed fee of £1.50 an hour was also agreed for consultation.

The Evening Mail has since called on the council to re-examine its decision and listen to the voice of the public. The parking meters scheme was voted in as part of the authority’s 2014/15 budget to save £24.4m following a fourth straight year of government funding cuts.

Petitions have been circulated at more than 20 independent town centre retailers. And yesterday, Bright Ideas, which has been leading the charge, had around 300 signatures signed by customers in the Cavendish Street shop and handed in from other shops in the centre.

Boss Sandy Houston said that would be a “minority” of the true amount yet to be collected.

The council committee last week agreed to press ahead with an altered list of streets following talks with businesses. Cavendish Street and Scott Street no longer feature in the proposals.

But traders in those streets have continued to oppose plans for parking meters in sections of streets including Crellin, Buccleuch and Dalkeith. Mr Houston said: “It’s been a good response so far and it’s been a real cross-section of people, which proves it’s not just traders with a vested interest, it’s the general public who don’t agree.”

Lorna Parr, sales adviser at Pastures New, Scott Street, said: “The way to encourage people to come and shop locally is to make it easier and more affordable – if not free.”

John Spoor and Marian Bell of the Rugby Shop, Scott Street had around 100 signatures on a previous petition and another 20 on the latest one.

The 21-day consultation period on how the scheme should operate is due to start soon. The council said the date has yet to be confirmed.

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