A petition has been launched by Labour Cheshire East Councillors Joy Bratherton and Suzanne Brookfield (Crewe East Ward) and is supported by members of the Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party, protesting the proposed increase in council car parking charges for both towns, outlined by Cheshire East Council.
Under the proposals from Conservative controlled Cheshire East Council, in neighbouring towns; Alsager, Middlewich and Sandbach, parking on Cheshire East Council car parks will remain free, and the first hour of parking in Crewe will be 80p and 70p in Nantwich, the most expensive in the authority including towns like Alderley Edge, Congleton and Wilmslow, outlined in Cheshire East’s ward profiles as much more affluent than the two in our constituency.
Time For Action
This unfairness has prompted Labour Group councillors to engage with Council Tax payers and ask for support through a petition. Already speaking to residents in Crewe Town Centre and on the doorstep, it is clear there is scant – if any, support for the Conservative proposals.
Explaining her anger at the Council’s car parking strategy, Councillor Brookfield says “Residents of Crewe & Nantwich are facing the prospect of seeing the fees for car parking increase yet again. This is completely unacceptable and unjust. People of Crewe & Nantwich already pay the highest car parking charges in the borough – subsidising other towns where there are minimal fees or in some area’s free car parking. Is this fair? Absolutely not!” Whilst accepting that high streets are changing, Councillor Brookfield also speaks of the need to support remaining retailers and their workers “Whilst town centres up and down the country are experiencing challenging times – Crewe specifically is awaiting the long promised redevelopment to start, Cheshire East Council should be endeavouring to protect the footfall and to encourage visitors to the town – increasing car parking at this critical time is not only paradoxical to this but short-sighted.”
“Why should the Crewe carpark users 100% subsidise the carpark users of those towns with a zero charge?”
Other Labour colleagues are also frustrated at the Conservative proposals, neighbouring ward councillor Brian Roberts (Crewe West Ward) talks of the inequality across Cheshire East “The zero charges in carparks in areas within Cheshire East, require the same maintenance as the carparks in Crewe. So why should the Crewe carpark users 100% subsidise the carpark users of those towns with a zero charge, or part subsidise those with lower parking charges. As spoken about by Cllr Brookfield, suggesting other ways to maintain footfall within town centres without increased charges, he added “Parking enforcement could be stepped up which would result in free-flowing traffic, improved road safety, accessibility to street cleaning, much needed maintenance and improved air quality. If all towns and villages paid their fair share, the areas where retail was suffering due parking charges influencing footfall, subsidised parking could be given to the retailers. This could be in the form of presenting a parking fee receipt for reimbursement, a system successfully in place at the Lifestyle Centre.”
What is clear is that Labour are standing up for Crewe and Nantwich, in the face of unfair proposals from a Conservative led Council that can be accused of seeing our towns as fair game to subsidise the free car parking of other, more affluent areas of the Authority.
Please support your local Labour Councillors by signing the petition when you see us out and about in Crewe and Nantwich with our campaigners. This will support our cause and will be handed to Cheshire East when the time for debate and scrutiny takes place.