Chalk calls on Lib Dem Council not to “go wobbly” on plans to reduce night-time parking charges

Cheltenham's MP, Alex Chalk, has called on the Liberal Democrat-controlled Borough Council not to “go wobbly" on a pre-election pledge to reduce evening parking charges, amidst claims of a u-turn. The issue centres on plans to end parking charges in the town's car parks after 6pm, something that Mr Chalk has campaigned for. Back in February of this year, the Lib Dem administration responded to Mr Chalk’s campaign by announcing plans to end car parking in Borough Council-owned car parks after 6pm - a measure that was welcomed by residents and traders alike (http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Parking-council-run-car-parks-Chel…). Indeed, in their local election campaign the Lib Dems claimed that ''parking is set to be free after 6pm if Lib Dem budget proposals for 2016/17 are approved'' (see attached picture for reference). Those budget proposals did indeed receive unanimous approval at a full Council Budget meeting. However, since the local elections the official line from the Lib Dem Council has changed. In an email sent by a senior Council officer responsible for parking strategy, the Council states that ''no firm decision has yet been taken by the Council's Cabinet to remove parking charges after 6pm” and the move is ''only one of a number of possible changes currently being considered through a review of the authority's car parking strategy’'. Reacting to the news, the town's man in Westminster stated: “I do hope the Council isn’t going wobbly on this one. I welcomed the pledge to reduce charges, which would support local businesses and encourage visitors. Now the Council needs to get on and honour its commitment.'' Mr Chalk encouraged the Council to go further, adding: ''Even if these proposals do go eventually ahead, it will still cost £10 to park all day on a Sunday in Cheltenham, compared to just £2 in Gloucester. There's much further to go on this issue.''