In the run-up to the local elections it seems the Conservative Party’s penchant for fact-free policy making isn’t confined to central government.
Drivers already struggle to find a free car parking space in our town centre car parks at peak times at any price. Of course, a “free” half-hour would only make matters worse.
But cheating drivers with Waverley residents’ money is another thing altogether. Even their Conservative government didn’t describe the one-time £1m “funding guarantee” as a “windfall” just for Waverley.
By the government’s own account it’s there to ensure all councils will see at least a three per cent increase in their core spending power before any decisions about organisational efficiencies, use of reserves or council tax levels. In Waverley’s case, that £1m barely compensates for the loss of equivalent government funding from other grants, and it’s also before taking into account the inflation which will cost Waverley £3m (nine per cent) just for the one year alone.
If the Conservatives are serious about supporting the high street (and drivers), they should come up with a lot better.
For example, they could:
Support Waverley’s campaign to stop their government taking £32m (85 per cent) of the business rates Waverley’s businesses pay each and every year;
Lobby their government to better support businesses struggling with their party’s broken energy policies; and
Campaign with Waverley to persuade Conservative-run Surrey County Council to focus on the basics and take seriously the mess our local highways and public transport are in.
Councillor Mark Merryweather
Lib Dems, Weybourne and Badshot Lea
Waverley portfolio holder for finance
I read the Tories will pilot 30-minute free parking in the Haslemere car parks using windfall money.
Has this really been thought through or is it just to catch votes?
There are many one-hour free parking slots in our High Street, West Street, Weyhill and other central sites. Our central car parks are already full, particularly on Friday and Saturdays. The central supermarket offer a ticket refund.
If shoppers travel to nearby towns to take advantage of a 30-minute free space, then the fuel and climate damage must be a negative.
Waverley have very few funding sources to try to recover Covid debt, and car parks spaces do generate much-needed funds.
Councillor John Robini (Lib Dem, Haslemere)
Whitfield Road, Haslemere