Council votes against reversing car park charges for St Albans city centre

Local traders gather in the Keyfield Terrace car park to protest Sunday parking charges in St Albans

Local traders gather in the Keyfield Terrace car park to protest Sunday parking charges in St Albans - Credit: Archant

A bid to reverse Sunday car parking charges was rejected by councillors last night.

A coalition of disgruntled traders launched a campaign calling for fairer car parking charges across St Albans city centre back in May.

The group was set up in response to the introduction of a £1 fee for parking on Sundays and a new payment structure for certain car parks at the start of April.

Businesses claimed they had not been consulted on the changes, which were having a detrimental effect on trade, with fewer people visiting the city on Sundays and motorists being put off by hikes in charges at smaller car parks like Keyfield Terrace.

A petition calling for free parking to be reinstated on a Sunday attracted 1,800 names, and a companion petition against long-term parking in Keyfield Terrace received 60 signatures.

But despite the efforts of the campaign, the council voted against revrsing the charges at last night’s meeting.

Campaign founder Nadya Giffen, the owner of White Orchid Therapies in London Road, said: “I am amazed yet not surprised that the Tory-led council decided not to listen to the public, residents and business community of St Albans. I was also surprised that Labour didn’t support the petition.

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“It is the duty of the council to represent its people and they have failed massively, they have failed their community.

“Having handed over 1,866 signatures to the Mayor I felt we may have stood a chance if this was a proper democracy. All this has highlighted is there is no democracy in St Albans and the people that matter are yet again being ignored.

“It leaves me wondering if they will change their tune when election time comes round because people will remember this but by then it will be too little too late. I want to make it very clear that we will continue to campaign against unfair charges in St Albans, this isn’t going away until we see changes implemented and are satisfied.”

Cllr Chris White, whose Lib Dem group championed the campaign, added: “‘I am very concerned that the modest Lib Dem proposals to reverse some of the mistakes made earlier in the year were rejected by the Conservatives with Labour group support.

“One comment was particularly telling. A Labour councillor urged people who felt that city centre parking was too expensive to shop for free in London Colney. So it appears that the other groups on the council are content to cut the city centre adrift and encourage St Peter’s Street gently to decline.”

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