TRADERS in Ripley have slammed new car parking charges introduced across the borough as ‘illogical’ and ‘hypocritical’.
As of Wednesday, October 5, the majority of the Amber Valley Borough Council-run pay and display car parks now charge users a 50p rate in the evenings and on a Sunday.
The move aims to help the cash-strapped authority trim £2 million from its budget in just two years.
But while all of the borough’s residents can obtain a permit to allow them to continue using the spaces for free between 6pm and midnight, David Clarke, owner of Grosvenor Road department store Clarkes, believes it will put people off the town centre.
He said: “People will simply go out of town at night rather than into it . In the present climate I just think it’s unjustified.“When the council talks of regeneration – to do this seems completely hypocritical.”
Owner of Sheezan Tandoori on Church Street, Nazir Hussain, is also dismayed by the measures.
“The problem is if someone is just going to pop in for a takeaway, where are they going to park?” he said. “They may come in for a ten or £12 takeaway meal, but if the warden is there they will end up paying £30 to pick up their takeaway.”
Cllr Paul Jones , leader of the Amber Valley Labour Group, has accused the controlling Conservative groups of ‘rail-roading’ its hit list of cost saving measures since February. He said: “Regeneration is about encouraging people to come into the town – if you are not going to give your town the edge then it is going to suffer.”
Amber Valley Borough Council must trim £2 million from its budget in just two years. Defending the measures, Cllr Jack Brown, cabinet member for green and thriving places to live, said: “The overall revised charges, which were approved by the council in February this year, are aimed at reducing congestion near to the more well used car parks while encouraging the use of the under-utilised car parks.
“The income will ensure that the car parks are sustainable for the long term.
“I’d urge people who are used to parking in the evenings to look at the signs so they know the revised charges.”