Ringwood mayor Gareth DeBoos tries to help struggling businesses pay for more hiked New Forest District Council parking clocks
A TOWN mayor has tried to help struggling businesses pay for their parking clocks by using his mayoral allowance.
Cllr Gareth DeBoos wanted to award cash subsidies to Ringwood’s low-income firms after NFDC recently hiked an annual long-stay parking clock from £140 to £220.
Cllr DeBoos’s motion had been prompted by over 100 messages from residents and businesses concerned about the increase.
As reported in the A&T, NFDC – in approving the rise in charges last October – stated the prices had stayed the same last year and represented “incredibly good value”.
The mayor’s motion also sought to award an emergency grant to Ringwood and District Round Table, which would have sole responsibility to distribute.
Before the town councillors’ debate at the meeting, district councillor Jeremy Heron questioned how eligibility for financial help would be assessed to fairly distribute funds.
Fellow district councillor Steve Rippon-Swaine emphasised the parking clock’s value for those working full-time.
This equated to a cost of around £1 per day, he said, while the clock can be shared between people and vehicles for any NFDC car park.
The meeting was also told the prices across some of the parking schemes had been frozen for the past six years, and this could not continue amid rising costs of managing car parks.
Despite sharing sympathy for people’s plight during the cost-of-living crisis, town councillors ruled they could not support the motion.
Among the various reasons was that no costings had been provided, and it was believed there were other ways to support people in need.
Members also felt it would help only a small minority, and be a misuse of taxpayers’ money.
In addition, they argued, there was insufficient detail as to how the scheme work, while the council would have no control.
Instead, the town councillors said they should share concern with NFDC over the high price rise and ask that it be reviewed.
Cllr DeBoos withdrew his motion.