Contact the Bridport News with your stories, pictures and video footage. Send us an email
7,000 sign petition against meters
CAMPAIGNERS against parking meters in Bridport are remaining vigilant despite their protests forcing a re-think on the plans After hearing the arguments against introducing on-street parking charges Dorset County Councillors agreed to reassess their county-wide policy to charge motorists.
The decision to review still has to be agreed by cabinet at its November 6 meeting.
Traders and politicians fighting the scheme are not claiming final victory yet and are still collecting evidence and petition signatures to back up their opposition.
The Bridport News backed campaign has seen a petition of more than 7,000 names and hundreds of questionnaires filled in to show how and why people use and value the current one-hour free on-street parking.
And petition organiser market trader Roy Gregory has had a reply from Eric Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government appearing to back the town’s arguments.
Mr Gregory said: “I took the letter as a positive and think it bolsters our arguments. I think it is also about the people at local level making the decisions.
“The feeling is that we are not relaxing until the battle is won.
“We will keep this petition going until the committee actually decide because they could have come back after the review and say they still want to proceed.”
His letter from Mr Pickles’ office said parking should not be seen as a ‘cash cow’.
It said: “The fact that local authority revenue from parking in 2010 was £1.3 billion shows why we need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules. The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers. “As you rightly suggest, good and affordable parking provision can play an important role in rejuvenating high streets and town centres. Making it easier to park helps support local shops local jobs and tourism by increasing footfall, giving them a chance to compete against internet retailers and out of town superstores.
“Over-zealous parking wardens have inflicted real damage on local economies and giving many towns and councils a bad name.
“We’re also taking steps to tackle Draconian parking charges and enforcement.”
Town, district and county councillor Ros Kayes, who is analysing findings from the questionnaires, said: “The key issue is really going to be whether the county council is going to agree that different towns have to be treated differently.
“I am very concerned that the review will allow that as a potential outcome. I am very worried that the cabinet will decide a single policy for all the towns in Dorset.
“It is important that it mustn’t do that. The a principle of supporting the economy of the towns has to be in the forefront of any decision that is made. That is what I will be saying at the cabinet meeting.”
She thanked everyone who had filled in questionnaires, which should be returned to the News office by the end of the month.
The petition and surveys are still available