Town centre degeneration down to the parking scheme?

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I usually agree with Annemarie Field and enjoy her column each week, but I cannot agree with her acceptance of parking charges at any time. Taking into account Sam Reid’s letter in this week’s Herald the cause of the degeneration of the town centre is in no small way due to the introduction of the parking scheme. People object to paying to park in their own town. If one goes to someone else’s town - OK, fair enough. The result of charging is to make people go to places where they do not have to pay - supermarkets or other stores with their own (free) car parks. Once there they will not go on to the town centre to the small shops. The alternative to charity shops is to leave them empty, often because of the rent being doubled at the end of a lease. Charity shops would also pay less council tax, but at least it’s something.

If you take a bus to the town centre you have to carry your shopping onto the bus, and thence to your home. Not an attractive idea.

The whole parking problem is of the County Council’s making - when the police hived off responsibility for monitoring parking they should have appointed wardens to oversee parking, with power to fine illegal parking.

This would have been self-funding. However, they held a “consultation”, (in political terms this means - let the public have its say and then ignore what it said and do what you want).

In 2007 the Lib-Dems made great play that they were going to get rid of the parking scheme (surely knowing that in fact they were powerless.). This was the reason for their “landslide” win.

Lynton F Morrish, Victoria Drive