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Taking a stand on Bridport parking charges
A BRIDPORT Town Councillor is prepared to take direct action to stop on-street parking charges being introduced.
Such is the strength of opposition to Dorset County Council’s proposals to replace the one-hour free parking in East, West and South streets that a petition collected 3,000 signatures in a week.
Coun Phil Lathey said if he had to he would stand in the way to stop the pay and display machines being installed.
He said: “I am quite happy to stand on the street and stop the parking meters being fitted. I am that passionate about it.”
At the planning committee meeting on Monday fellow councillors were unanimous in their opposition to introducing charges, accusing Dorset County Council of ignoring democracy and the wishes of local people.
Coun Martin Ray said contrary to the county council’s assertions charging for on-street parking had been far from successful in Swanage or Dorchester.
He said: “They say it is not for raising funds but they want compensation if we don’t let them use parking metres on market days.”
Coun Dave Rickard said it would be a ‘travesty of justice’ if the county council went ahead.
“They haven’t given any evidence on some of their other outrageous claims that it is going to be safer, that it is going to be environmentally friendly and it will stop people parking all day,” he said.
“People can’t park all day, you can’t even park all day in most of the car parks.
“As for compensation, how can they invent something that didn’t exist then ask for compensation because they are going to lose money?”
Matthew Piles, traffic manager for Dorset County Council, said: “On-street parking is one of many tools that we can use to address concerns that have been raised in Bridport about the amount of traffic in the town and pedestrian safety.
“In other market towns it has increased the economic ‘churn’ when a reasonable cost and time allocation has been implemented.
“We are asking people what they think to provide a solution that fits the town.
“There has been no decision on whether the market will be charged. It will be a decision for council members.”
The town council is asking the county council for evidence on reasons for the scheme for its meeting on September 17.
The petition started by market traders’ spokesman Roy Gregory is online at you.38degrees.org .uk/petitions/protect-the- historic-street-market-of-bridport-dorset-1 and in shops in town. It will be taken to Dorset County Council in November.
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