Bath shopkeepers and restaurateurs are up in arms over Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) council’s dramatic rise in on-street parking charges—up by 41% in some places!
Streets in central Bath are now part of a premium zone where the parking charges have rocketed. In Laura Place, next to the historic Pulteney Bridge with its plethora of small independent shops, the charge for an hour of parking has risen steeply from £2.40 to £3.40- a 42 per cent increase.
‘Now there is greater park and ride capacity, there is less need for motorists to drive their car into the city centre for an on-street space,’ says a Bath council spokesperson. ‘We also want to encourage people to use on-street car parking for shorter terms. This helps businesses in the immediate vicinity due to a greater turnover of cars that results in a better chance for their customers to find a parking space.’
Local traders disagree. Whereas Laura Place used to be a busy parking area, it is now virtually empty of cars. The nearby shopkeepers are incensed by what they see as a move that is putting off shoppers from coming to their part of Bath—not encouraging them. In response, the Independent Shops of Bath have started a petition calling for an end to the council’s increase of parking charges.
‘The price increases are large and unjustified especially at this time of year when post-Christmas people don’t have a great deal of disposable income,’ says Rajen Doshi, owner of A H Hale Chemist on Argyle Street. ‘It’s going to prevent people from coming to shop in Bath.’
‘For our customers they want to quickly park up and grab something—this will put them off,’ says Charlie Tanner of nearby John Moore Sports. He fears this increase will have a detrimental effect on local business.
Hitting the pavements to help support the petition in other parts of Bath, I rapidly got the best part of a hundred signatures from local shopkeepers who told a similar story.
‘Our customers ask us to post their purchases to them now, rather than drive into Bath to pick them up, because the parking is so expensive,’ said the manager of a doorknob shop in Broad Street. ‘That’s a pity because those customers used to pop into other shops when they came in and they aren’t doing that now.’
B&NES is seriously misunderstanding the dynamics of shopping in their city and as result of their fixation with expensive park-and-ride schemes are putting off many other customers who would frequent Bath’s independent shops.
Sunderland councillor Neville Padgett has splashed out over £1,000 a year on his weekly ‘litter tours’. The Sunderland City councillor has made the 51 mile journey of every road in his Washington East ward on the lookout for litter, based in his very own car.
The backbench councillor has shamelessly claimed £7,084.80 on travel expenses, accounting for 26 per cent of the total £26,000 bill in 2012/13. The spending doesn’t stop there though. Padgett is also responsible for a massive 52 per cent of the total subsistence allowance, claiming a whopping £4,026.47 of the £7k bill.
We are seeking to recruit a National Grassroots Coordinator to oversee our growing network of activists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A full-time post based out of the TPA’s Westminster office, the job will involve carrying out the following duties:
Last October, a TaxPayers’ Alliance report that I authored highlighted those councils in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire that were preventing residents from recording, blogging, and tweeting at council meetings. Eric Pickles then announced these rights would soon be enshrined in law. This is what he had to say:
A recent report from the Tax Payers’ Alliance revealed an alarming number of councils in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire who were still keeping democracy behind closed doors. Some councils had even banned local residents from recording, blogging and tweeting at council meetings. Ministers believe these councils are clinging to outdated analogue ideals in the face of a digital age.
Good news! Today the Local Audit and Accountability Act (where these rights are contained) received Royal Assent! When I attended a full council meeting of my local council recently, I was reminded that I couldn’t record proceedings. At the next meeting, I will enjoy using my new rights to record and report what’s happening in the council chamber. Continue Reading
With the NHS no longer being handed inflation busting budget increases, you might expect a certain amount of belt tightening. Yet the world’s fifth largest employer continues to squander cash with another eye watering pay off for a former Deputy Chief Executive who never actually left.
The scandalous pay off was exposed in the Times as part of a revised list of 36 health chiefs paid a total of £10.2 million when 161 organisations were abolished under last year’s NHS reforms. Continue Reading