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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Hundreds voice anger at on street parking fees at Windermere meeting

HUNDREDS of people packed into a public protest meeting in Windermere to vent their anger at forthcoming on street parking fees.

More than 330 residents, traders and business owners issued a vote of no confidence in Cumbria County Council - the authority bringing forward the controversial move - at the Windermere and Bowness Action Group event on Thursday.

The charges are one of a number of cost saving measures coming into force later this year as county bosses attempt to slash £23 million from their annual budget.

Scores of business and shop owners at the meeting, held in Windermere’s Ladyholme Centre, claimed the charges will kill businesses which are already struggling through harsh trading conditions.

Lake Road cafe owner Keith Rennie said: “We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly with recession, foot and mouth and the speed limit on the lake.

“But this will be an even greater uphill struggle.”

Windermere shop owner Shirley Crisp added: “Retail conditions are incredibly challenging as it is.

“Here tonight, Windermere and Bowness residents are saying no, we are not accepting this.”

Windermere Lakes Cruises boss and invited speaker Nigel Wilkinson told the crowds a street parking tariff was “anti business” and would be disastrous for the economy of the area.

“I am not sure whether our council realises how marginal many of our businesses are,” he said.

“They have seven months of income and 12 months of expenses.

“The vision for the Lake District is for a prosperous economy and a vibrant community - this is totally incompatible with that.”

Opponents to the scheme were urged to object in writing to CCC leader Stuart Young or its chief executive Diane Wood.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is now also to refer the issue to the Local Government Ombudsman on grounds of maladministration by CCC.

He took to the stage at the meeting to vow to fight the introduction of the charges - which will be set at a 20 per cent higher rate than nearby car parks - as well as calling for the county authority to undertake an economic impact assessment.

“The county council can drop this,” Mr Farron claimed.

“This is not acceptable, they can find that money from somewhere else."

Farmer Jim Bland, county councillor for the Lyth Valley, said towns could only prosper where there were no parking charges.

"It doesn't take a genuis to work that out," he told the meeting.

"There's plenty of room to make efficiencies in the county council.

"This town took 10 years to get over the 10mph limit, they're about to take the ground from under your feet again."

Windermere Town Councillor Bill Smith, a small towns regeneration expert, explained the meeting had been about agreeing the next step for the community in its fight against the onslaught of on street parking meters.

“We are here trying to find a solution, it’s not about winning votes,” he said.

“We need to keep this issue going, we need to make sure the county council hears it loud and clear.”

Have your say

CCC councillors are not interested in the South of the County or out views, which is why we are the only ones in the county to suffer cuts to our Fire Services which apparently come into force at the end of June. Where are they going to get the funding when businesses start closing due to lack of trade? Everyone in South Cumbria should fight against these parking meters and join the Vote of No confidence in CCC, it seems the only MP in the South Cumbria who fights for the locals is Tim Farron, we didn't even have the option of voting last month either at local or County level.

Posted by June on 6 June 2014 at 23:56

We must NOT have parking meters in the Lake District, business have suffered enough over the last 10years with the 10mile speed limit on Windermere, Foot and Mouth and the down turn in the economy, this is the last thing we need. Wake up CCC and see the light, build a large car park and charge a £1 a day and you will see the revenue come in.

Posted by jennifer Bailey on 6 June 2014 at 21:26

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