Challenge to introduction of parking charges in Totton fails to change 'disappointing' decision
A CHALLENGE failed to put the brakes on new charges at several Totton car parks after New Forest District Council’s deputy leader refused to change his decision.
Conservative Cllr Edward Heron backed the changes at the short and long-stay spaces in Winsor Road, Civic Centre and Westfield Road car parks.
The measures had been challenged by Liberal Democrat Cllr Caroline Rackham, who deployed the rarely used option of “calling in” a cabinet member’s decision.
She argued the charges would harm Totton’s economy and commuters would refuse to pay to park and instead opt for already “chaotic” residential streets.
Cllr Rackham said Totton should be treated differently since it competed with businesses outside NFDC’s catchment, such as Shirley High Street in Southampton, while users of the community centre, stroke club and GP surgery benefitted from free parking.
Fellow Lib Dems criticised the move, including Cllrs David Harrison, Malcolm Wade and Jack Davies – the latter branding the decision “very disappointing”.
But Cllr Heron, who made the decision under his role as the cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, refused to change his mind.
He said he was surprised the Lib Dem opposition group was advocating against a move that he claimed could benefit the environment by persuading people to use their cars less.
He also pointed out NFDC had run a public consultation on the changes and he saw no reason for Totton to be treated as a unique case.
There had been opposition to parts of the proposal from seven people and Totton and Eling Town Council.
Some local businesses also stated charges would have a “negative impact”.
But an NFDC report said: “This proposal would bring Totton in line with all other towns and parishes where charging for car parking has been working well for many years, with residents very satisfied with the value and flexibility of the council’s parking clock scheme – where for £25 a year you can park for up to three hours, 365 days of the year in town centre car parks.”
All ticket machines will be solar powered and wheelchair accessible, and the affected car parks will have designated disabled parking bays. Those displaying a blue badge can park free of charge.