Free Car Parking – I wrote a letter

I wrote a letter to the Vale of White Horse cabinet, urging them to reconsider their plans for free car parking in Abingdon.

Here’s what I said:

Dear Matthew,

I’m writing to members of the VoWH Cabinet to encourage you to decide against free car parking in Abingdon.

I represent the people of North Hinksey & Wytham ward. We’re about as remote from Abingdon as can be, and few of us ever venture into Abingdon town centre. As a result, this proposal offers us no benefits, and will probably result in cuts to services that DO affect us, to offset the income lost from car parking charges. For example, discontinuing Unvaled to save some money — that newsletter is delivered to every household in the Vale — it benefits everyone!

I read the recently published report where the financial officer “strongly recommends against” the proposed free parking, for several reasons. These reasons alone support the fiscally responsible decision to abandon the proposed free parking for Abingdon.

If there is no evidence that free car parking improves footfall in town centres, and there is no fiscally responsible plan to make up for the lost income (approx £1,000,000 over the term of this council), and it benefits only a few residents (those who drive their cars into Abingdon), I can’t see the case for proceeding with this.

Taking action that is opposed to the financial officer’s strong recommendation against this proposal is dangerous to our finances, and will damage the reputation of your Conservative legacy in the Vale. It benefits a small group, by small amounts of money, but represents a very large ongoing expense in these times of central cuts to council income streams.

Please don’t do it. Don’t risk your legacy by taking a first big decision based on mis-guided ideas that benefit a few, cost too much and won’t help in the longer term.

Cllr Debby Hallett

01865 435794

Take a few minutes and send your thoughts to the Vale Cabinet. There emails are in the post linked to in Related Reading, just below.

Related reading: Free Car Parking – recommend against