Below is the full text of a letter from Conservative Group Leader – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald - that was published only in part by the Argus last week:
Residents, businesses and visitors to Brighton & Hove must be, like me, in a state of utter confusion about the Green Party’s parking policy.
Firstly, they whack up parking charges across the city on the grounds that they need to raise an extra Ł1.3 million to protect frontline services and balance the Council’s Budget. Then, about 3 months into this experiment, they discover that the charges are actually deterring people from coming to the city to such an extent that there is a Ł700,000 shortfall in parking income, as we predicted would happen. So, they switch their story, claiming that this wasn’t actually about raising revenue at all, rather they were doing it in order to reduce congestion and air pollution in the city.
Having continued to make this argument as recently as last week at the Transport Committee, in the face of a barrage of criticism from us and the London Road traders, they decide that congestion and air pollution are perhaps not quite so important as all the bad headlines, and bring charges in London Road (and possibly other areas of the city) back down – a move which, of course, we welcome.
But then, to further confuse matters, Cllr. Kitcat writes into the Argus (letters 4th December) on the very same day that theLondon Road u-turn is announced, criticising me for calling for Christmas parking charge reductions and stating that “the city can’t afford another spike in air pollution”.
And, yes, Cllr. Kitcat is quite right, we did reduce Christmas parking charges at Regency Square Car Park when we were in Administration in 2010 and no, it wasn’t repeated because the following year his Party was running the Council!
This whole episode has been a complete shambles and Cllr. Kitcat and his Green Party colleagues should just admit that they got this all wrong. For the avoidance of doubt, the Conservative Group would like parking charges restored to 2011 levels – and that should apply all year round, not just at Christmas.
Cllr.Geoffrey Theobald OBE – Conservative Group Leader