Support your local High Street? Only if you have deep pockets

“Car parking charges are too high and affecting small businesses.”

Well it is a fact that car parking income makes up a considerable park of the Council’s income. Therefore it can’t just be cut without having an impact upon services. However with places like Bluewater and Lakeside not far away, where parking is free, I think it is important to keep car parking charges as low as possible. This is why the previous Conservative Administration froze car parking charges for five out of its last six years.

But let’s look at the quote in full:

“Car parking charges are too high and affecting small businesses. The Independents would lower parking charges and make the first hour free.”

The person making that statement? Council Leader Ron Woodley, who’s budget it proposing to increase parking charges by HALF A MILLION POUNDS in one year. Yes HALF A MILLION POUNDS to be taken from residents and visitors to the town alike. That is half a million pounds not going through the tills of our local businesses, be they on Southend High Street, Hamlet Court Road, Leigh Broadway or even Thorpe Bay. Parking near Southend High Street could cost you 20% more in April than it does now. Ouch.

What has the Independent, Labour and Liberal Administration chosen to do with this extra £500k?

Have they decided to invest it in improving our schools? No they are taking £95k out of the School Improvement budget

Have they decided to invest it in cleaning up our streets? No they are taking 50 litter bins off our streets

Have they decided to put it into helping us recycle? No they are stopping textile collection and saving over £400k from the Waste Contract that is being renewed – let us hope that’s not to the detriment of the service we have got used to over the years from Cory

Have they decided to cut our Council Tax? Nope that’s going up too.

No, they have decided to spend half of it on offering free car parking from 6pm (just as all the shops on the high street shut) on the seafront all year around.

The rest? Well this year it is going to be spent on doing up some toilets in Thorpe Bay ward. No points for guessing which ward Ron Woodley represents and is up for election in this year….

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About jamescourtenay

Local Southend resident, since before I can remember. I am hoping to represent the residents of Blenheim Park Ward after the May 2011 Local Elections. Straight Talking? - Yes. Approachable? - Yes. Accountable? - Yes. See my blog to find out how!
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