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Free car parking issue splits town councillors
3:00pm Monday 7th October 2013 in News
THE issue of whether Ledbury should have a free car park once again has split town councillors.
The council is currrently in early consultation with Herefordshire Council concerning car parking charges for the next financial year; but so far the authority has not given figures as to how much revenue it expects Ledbury’s car parks to bring in.
Because of this, the town’s chairman of planning, Coun Chris Ridler, believes it would be “premature” for the the town council to demand the restoration of free car parking at a town centre car park, and he used his casting vote when it was debated at last week’s planning committee meeting.
He was also concerned free parking for one car park could lead to unfair car parking charges for others.
He said, after the meeting: “We could say to Herefordshire Council, we want a free car park, but someone else, somewhere, would have to pay for it.”
Until November last year, Ledbury’s free car park was at Bridge Street.
Coun Ridler’s fear is by making Bridge Street free again, charges would need to rise significantly on the other town centre car parks of St Katherine’s and Bye Street.
The proposal for a free car park came from Coun Tony Bradford who said after the meeting: “I get tired of explaining what is going on in Ledbury. Why should I have to explain about the parking congestion on residential streets that losing the free car park has caused?”
In previous months Coun Bradford has been a vocal critic of the decision to lose the town’s one free car park, and he has pointed to the level of on street parking that is now going on in roads including New Street and Long Acres, as motorists look for free car parking elsewhere.
He said: “The debate was an opportunity for Ledbury Town Council to tell Herefordshire Council that we want a free car park back for a small increase on the other car parks.”
He said that Bridge Street was usually “only a third full” since it became a pay car park.
Three councillors voted for Coun Bradford’s proposal; three against, with two abstentions.
Coun Ridler’s casting vote was decisive.
Coun Bradford plans to continue his campaign.
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