To: Doina Cornell, Leader of Stroud District Council
Catherine Braun, Deputy Leader of Stroud District Council
Ken Tucker, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group
I am extremely concerned that you have taken a decision to significantly raise parking prices in Stroud District Council Car Parks by 12.5% or 10p in the first hour.
When you tried to add parking charges to our free car parks in [2018/19], it was made abundantly clear that parking charges are a barrier for trade for our high street businesses. That was even before our retailers had suffered the economic shock of lockdown closures.
Your plans also come at a time when hard-pressed families are already feeling the impact of many costs rising due to the global pandemic. We should be encouraging people into our towns to spend locally and away from online services, not put them off by hiking parking charges.
I am informed that part of your decision is to penalise the use of cars for the sake of saving the environment. You are however well aware that in a largely rural district, the majority of our residents rely on their vehicles and this will be the case for many years to come.
Further, Stroud District Council should honour its own initiatives for the environment before penalising residents. We are still waiting for you to increase the number of electric charging points in the council’s car parks in accordance with the motion passed two years ago.
During the 2021 local elections, the Conservatives were clear that if we were in charge of the council we would implement a period of free parking. As this was a fully costed proposal, we know that the council can afford not to implement an above-inflation parking increase, nor is it cost-effective.
It is imperative that Stroud District Council works harder to be business-friendly and be mindful of the unintended consequences of your decisions.
I hope you will agree to modify the budget accordingly.
Leader of the Conservative Group
Stroud District Council