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Parking pay and dismay

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A final attempt has been made to protect the future of free carparking in Southwell.

Town councillors have sent a statement to Newark and Sherwood District Council objecting to what they see as discriminatory carpark charging proposals.

The planned charges at the district council-owned Church Street and King Street carparks will be decided at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Thursday.

Its proposals are for two hours of free parking, followed by a £1 per hour charge after that.

If agreed, the charges will start when civil enforcement of on-street parking begins in May.

The leader of the town council, Mr Peter Harris, said it seemed inevitable that the district council would go ahead with the charges.

“Without sorting out long-term parking the district council will be causing even more problems with on-street parking throughout the town,” he said.

At a meeting of the town council on Wednesday, Mr Andy Gregory said charging would victimise residents.

He said they had tried to work in partnership with the district council to solve parking problems, but had been ignored every time.

Mr Gregory was concerned that people who did not live in Southwell were making decisions that affected the town.

Mr Roger Dobson said there were no plans for charges at council-owned carparks in Ollerton and Edwinstowe, despite the results of a report that placed the carpark situation in those areas on a par with Southwell’s problems.

Around two years ago the district council commissioned a consultants’ report that recommended the introduction of charges in Southwell to free up spaces being occupied by long-stay users. The report also highlighted the need for alternative long-stay parking.

“We know that is not happening,” said mr Dobson. “We have not got long term space. Where are the people who work in the town going to go?”

Mrs Lyn Harris was worried that when charges were reviewed in a year’s time, the district council would bring in charges for the first two hours as well.

Mr Brendan Haigh said free parking was a big incentive for people going into the town centre to shop.

“If there is any impediment put in their way of stopping off here to have a look around, they will go somewhere else,” he said.

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