07:09 Tuesday 5th July 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: We’ll start with car parking charges in Peterborough, which have risen yet again. Some of Peterborough City Council’s own car parks have gone up by around 10%… Councillor Stephen Goldspink is on the line. Morning.
STEPHEN GOLDSPINK: Morning .. I do understand people’s concerns about the increase in charges. Every year the Council charges seem to go up across a range of services, and whilst I know the Council is in a difficult financial position, following a cut in Government grants, I always maintain there are always choices that the Council can make. And I’m not sure they make the best choices all of the time, when they’re talking about the “blend” of increasing charges and cutting expenditure.
PAUL STAINTON: And this is at a time when we’re trying to drive people into the city, we’re trying to drive businesses into the city. You run a local business. This is going to stop people parking, isn’t it?
STEPHEN GOLDSPINK: Well it does. I was interested to hear one of your voxpop people talk about “it’s good value compared to onstreet charges of £1.10 for half and hour.” I personally think onstreet charges for half and hour are absolutely staggeringly exorbitant. And to therefore compare the offstreet charge against the onstreet ones seems to me to be a bit strange. But it will drive people away. People will look for any options that they can go to other places to park cheaper. I personally like to shop local if I can, and now living slightly outside Peterborough, the charges are much lower. Why would I come to Peterborough to buy things, if I have six pounds, seven pounds to stump up for my bill, plus fuel? Retailers are going out of business. This isn’t going to help.
PAUL STAINTON: Are they just going to keep going up though? Because as you mentioned, Peterborough City Council needs to save a heck of a lot of money.
STEPHEN GOLDSPINK: Well they are. And the opportunity for people to do something about it sadly passed in May, when there was an opportunity for people to vote with their feet, or vote with their “x”s, and say to the current Conservative administration, we’re not happy with what you’re doing. They’re spending £125,000 this year on a scheme called Citizen Power, which Scrutiny Committee said ought to be closed down. They’re still spending the money. Marco Cereste, when he came to power, immediately made changes to councillors’ responsibilities that added £63,000 a year to the cost of Council allowances. That hasn’t gone away. There’s been a lot of comment about translation services, where we’re paying over £100,000 to subsidise translation services. So there are other options out there, apart from putting up charges. People need to prompt the Conservatives to take those options by voting.
PAUL STAINTON: What would be a proper level for car parking charges in the city?
STEPHEN GOLDSPINK: I feel that we’ reached a maximum really. There was a gentleman on your interviews who said one pound per hour is fair. I think actually even that is excessive. But I would settle at that level. I think now we’ve breached that, we’re going to see 10% hikes over the next two or three years as well I suspect. Because there are psychological limits. Once you’ve breached them, then probably officers and councillors will think they can go a lot further.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Thank you for that Stephen. Appreciate that. Councillor Stephen Goldspink from the English Democrats.