AN ASTONISHING call to deface parking signs and glue coin slots in a revolt against parking charges has been made by a town councillor.
Martin Eager called for action against proposals to cut free parking in Ledbury after 6pm.
However, his stance was condemned by town mayor Terry Widdows.
Councillor Eager said at the town council meeting: “I think we should deface the signs and glue the coin slots. I think a campaign should be started.”
Parking after 6pm is free on St Katherine’s, Bye Street, Bridge Street and Lawnside Road car parks in the town.
However, cash-strapped Herefordshire Counci will introduce charges up to 10pm from May despite the town council urging the county council to think again.
Cllr Eager’s demand for action followed a call for civil disobedience from Councillor Clive Jupp.
Cllr Jupp said: “Charging till 10pm every night is crazy. I can’t believe it. Let’s have a programme of civil disobedience. Let’s all park on the streets.”
On-street parking, to avoid parking charges, has become an issue in Ledbury, especially since the town lost its last free car park at Bridge Street, in November 2012.
But in response to Cllr Eager’s comments about the signs and coin machines, Cllr Jupp said: “I was saying we should park legally on the roads.”
Cllr Eager replied: “I wasn’t joking.”
Cllr Widdows, who chaired the meeting, said Cllr Eager’s comments did not represent the policy and views of the town council.
He said: “I think the remarks are totally wrong and I would never condone vandalising property of any sort. Cllr Eager expressed his own views when he talked about doing that and it is certainly not the view of myself as mayor or of Ledbury Town Council.
“Whilst we may not agree on the choices that have been made there is a way to voice opinions and defacing property is not one of those.”
He added: “The idea to charge until 10pm is a ridiculous idea that in the market towns cannot draw extra income because any income gained will be lost against the offset of having to use enforcement officers for longer periods of time. “ Cllr Widdows called for a period of public consultation before the changes are introduced.
He said: “As was stated at the meeting there are residents that use the car parks in the evening and this will only add to parking issues in the street. This has never been consulted on I believe by Herefordshire Council and I would like to see the charges consulted on before it’s implemented in a democratic way so people have the opportunity to voice their views and common sense can then prevail.”