Hikes in Parking Charges proposed by Luton Borough Council will be delayed until the New Year as a result of a challenge by Liberal Democrat Councillors.
Labour Executive members had originally proposed that a number of parking charges would rise by 50 percent or more from 1st November. Lib Dem Councillors said that this would do nothing to help residents struggling with weekly finances or Town Centre shops, who had not been consulted, in the run-up to Christmas, and formally challenged the decision by ‘calling it in’ for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
Members of all three political parties on the Scrutiny Board asked for the highest proposed rises to be reconsidered. However, this request was refused by the Labour Executive, who instead reconfirmed all the rises. The challenge has however forced the Council to delay the rises until 9th January, giving residents and struggling shops 2 months grace.
Liberal Democrat Group Deputy Leader, Cllr Martin Pantling comments:
“ Residents who use shops and facilities both in the Town Centre and locally now look set to face New Year misery. The Labour leadership, if they can be called that, have defiantly confirmed their decision to increase parking charges by 10 times the inflation rate despite a cross-party Committee of councillors who reviewed the Fees asking them not to.”
“ There was no consultation with residents or businesses. Labour just want to fleece people for £60,000 a year more as a drop in the ocean towards their unfunded Busway costs.”
“ I’m pleased that through our challenge, the Liberal Democrats have forced a delay until the New Year. The last thing anyone needs is a Council cynically hiking parking fees just before Christmas, which the original decision did. The fact remains though that with much of the town being dug up, obstructed or diverted right now, and a lot of shopping competition nearby, Labour seem oblivious to the damage they could be doing to Luton as a whole.”