Somewhere in Cobalt Business Park, in an office responsible for parking planning and enforcement in North Tyneside, ideas have been rustled up that show all the vision of a glass eye.
I refer to the ‘proposals’ to overhaul the permit parking arrangements. A diktat seems a better word for what is being prescribed.
We are told that the cost of administration is exceeding the income. Can it be that the issuance of parking tickets night and day does not generate a fortune for this council? Could it be that the money is wasted, or that administration costs are too high because of inefficiency? Surely not.
Residents, visitors and business users are all to be targeted. In fact, the only user group not under the cosh seems to be North Tyneside Council’s office staff, where parking is, and will remain, free.
If times are hard, cut your cloth. Don’t show a disregard for people’s lives and livelihoods.
If the current arrangements don’t work for the council, they should be simplified. Look at our neighbours in Northumberland, they manage very well with a straightforward parking disc – simple and efficient.
If implemented, the possibilities for parking tickets are infinite, traffic wardens will be spoilt for choice. Every car user will have to be ultra careful when out and about, visitors will be caught out, local businesses will decline or dissolve, and out of town shopping centres and internet services will thrive at the expense of local people.
I believe there is a lack of a viable opposition within local government, which is a detriment to all of us, no matter what your politics. This council seems to be run like a monarchy, with a Labour council being crowned in succession term after term, regardless of performance.
It’s about freedom as much as anything. This council, any council, is supposed to make things better for its residents, not get every last penny out of them.