Councillor defends decision to put up parking charges saying that new charges give “flexibility” to residents

Tebbutts Road car park in St Neots

Tebbutts Road car park in St Neots - Credit: Archant

Senior councillors have defended the decision to introduce a new system of parking charges in Huntingdonshire.

At a full district council meeting on October 9, Councillor Marge Beuttell said the new charging system gave "greater choice of flexibility to encourage longer parking times".

Cllr Beuttell said: "Numerous studies in the UK and the USA have shown that there is no such thing as free parking, somebody always pays, whether that is an environmental cost, social cost, or financial cost, or a combination of all three as you say we need to make our market towns a destination.

"It will not be done by free parking, it will be done by delivering the promise that this council agreed - a greater choice of flexibility to encourage longer parking times."

During the meeting, district councillor for St Neots, Cllr Barry Chapman, asked Cllr Buttell about the charges saying that since their introduction businesses in the town have had an "horrendous two months".

However, Cllr Beuttell hit back at Cllr Champan saying that he was spreading "lies" regarding the charges and said Cllr Champan should "answer residents himself".

Cllr Beuttell said: "This would have avoided the dreadful abuse that I as portfolio holder, and Jo Lancaster, as managing director, have received at the hands of Black Cat Radio and Facebook all instigated by Cllr Chapman.

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"It has publicly stated that both she and I both circumnavigated the constitution of [the council] to achieve our aim of increasing car parking charges - that is a blatant lie."

However, Cllr Chapman responded to the allegations after the meeting saying the increase in charges "highlights the financial incompetence and complete lack of understanding" of the cabinet at the district council.

"I am confident that residents of Huntingdonshire would have been disgusted to witness the conduct of the deputy leader and cabinet colleague. Rather than account for her disastrous hiking of charges, Councillor Beuttell read a statement of fabricated personal attacks on me.

"Councillors Beuttell and Fuller may think they can defend this outrage by saying I am lying that these charges are unfair to residents and damaging to our local economy but, in doing so, they also brand those residents as liars."