‘Innovative’ fees idea welcomed

A COUNCILLOR has welcomed our calls for a fairer deal for parking charges for disabled drivers.

Last week we called on Boston Borough Council to think again about plans to increase parking fees to make savings.

The authority needs to plug a funding gap left by Government cuts of 31.9 per cent between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

Its plans are out for consultation and include proposals to start charging Blue Bage holders, a 10p fee rise across all tariffs, introducing £1 evening charges, scrapping most 60p 30 minute charges, putting up coach parking to £3 a day and making the cheapest all day car park £2.50.

We feel the deal could be detrimental to shoppers and businesses and have called for it to be stopped. However, if that is not possible in the current climate, we’ve asked that disabled drivers are at least given twice as long for the amount they pay to reflect the extra time they need to get around.

That idea has been welcomed by Coun Derek Richmond, who wrote to The Standard to say:

Sir,

Your front page article about the council’s budget consultation was timely.

It quite correctly spelled out that nothing has yet been agreed regarding the council’s budget for 2012/13 and that consultation with the public has now begun.

The full budget report and consultation document can be found on the council’s website www.boston.gov.uk

No car parking price “hike” has been approved by the council and we will look continuously at car park charges, with, we hope, input from the public, until such time as the budget is finally agreed.

I am grateful for the suggestion that, if Blue Badge holders do have to pay they get extra time for the same fee as an able-bodied driver, to allow for their mobility problems.

These are the sort of innovative ideas and suggestions we want to receive as part of the budget consultation.

You accurately outlined the challenges facing Boston Borough Council – a harsh financial climate, huge cuts in Government funding and massive savings to be found.

We want the public to help by suggesting where the savings should be made – because savings have to be made, there is no dodging that issue.

Yes, the budget consultation document does recommend ways in which income could be increased and savings could be made – could, not will.

We will fully consult on the idea of raising a potential £80,000 per annum by charging Blue Badge holders for parking on the council-controlled off-street car parks where they currently park for free BEFORE a final decision is made.

Lincoln and many other cities and towns now charge for parking by disabled people, including Boston’s Pescod Square Shopping Centre.

Cllr Derek Richmond,

Town centre portfolio holder,

Boston Borough Council