Tonight I was a guest at the Environment and Community Committee.
There were a lot of people in the audience and it was a heated meeting; then again it always was going to be. Parking is an extremely emotive issue.
What made the situation worse, was the attitude and position of the opposition councillors.
When I led the opposition, if we opposed an issue we always offered a suggestion for what we would do instead, or how else we would solve the problem. I think that’s the role of a responsible opposition and it gives the public a chance to know what your party “thinks” on issues.
Tonight we heard a lot about what the liberals don’t like, a lot about what they are against, but nothing positive in it’s place. No suggestions. No alternatives. Just abuse to the administration.
I shouldn’t be surprised really; it’s what they did on budget night too. Criticise but offer no alternative.
What the Conservative Councillors did tonight, was to explain in detail why we have the problems with car parking that we do, why enforcement is needed and what we did with the consultation responses received.
We listened. For the local shopping areas we suggested an hour of free parking. We suggested creating dedicated spaces for businesses and that their staff could have annual permits, for less than £1 a week. We have even started to create extra car parking for businesses in a disused council depot area.
Not everyone was happy, but not everyone ever was going to be on such an emotive subject, but we showed that we were willing to listen to people.