St Albans council divided over free parking call

PUBLISHED: 15:02 08 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to offer two hours free parking in all of the district s shopping areas has divided councillors. It was put forward by Tory councillors at a recent full council meeting but was met with anger from their ruling Lib Dem counterparts

A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to offer two hours free parking in all of the district's shopping areas has divided councillors.

It was put forward by Tory councillors at a recent full council meeting but was met with anger from their ruling Lib Dem counterparts.

Cllr Teresa Heritage said it would encourage economic activity across the district during the current difficult times and that local traders were behind the idea.

But the portfolio holder for community engagement and support, Anthony Rowlands, said it was a "stupid and counter-productive" motion which would lose the council £1.3million a year if implemented.

He argued that it would result in people leaving shopping centres after two hours to benefit from the free parking rather than staying any longer and that there would be a lower turnover of short-stay spaces for people on quick trips.

But Conservative councillors highlighted the benefits that other places have seen from such a scheme and pointed out that Westminster Lodge offered three hours free parking to encourage people to visit the leisure centre, which benefitted the council.

The proposal was refused after a vote found 17 councillors in favour and 33 against.


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