Row over UKIP call for free car parking in Wyre Forest

SAVE OUR TOWNS: Wyre Forest UKIP branch members in Bewdley.

SAVE OUR TOWNS: Wyre Forest UKIP branch members in Bewdley.

First published in News Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A WAR of words has broken out over Wyre Forest District Council's parking charges after a call by UKIP to provide shoppers with two-hours for free was labelled "irresponsible".

Members of the district's UK Independence Party (UKIP) have recently visited Stourport, Bewdley and Kidderminster to ask shoppers for their views on town centre car parking prices and said 100 per cent of people asked agreed there should be two-hours free parking in all council-owned town centre car parks.

Liberal councillors Fran Oborski and Tim Ingham, however, blasted the call as irresponsible and said UKIP had "showed ignorance of the council's financial situation".

Mrs Oborski said: "Faced with a petition calling for any free parking, it is easy to understand why it seems like a good idea but UKIP obviously don't understand the financial fall-out."

She said putting the policy in place would mean a loss to Wyre Forest District Council of between £750,000 and £800,000, with 85 per cent of the income coming from shoppers parking for up to two hours.

She added the alternatives were a 12 per cent council tax increase or the further slashing of services and said 30 per cent of Saturday shoppers in Kidderminster came from out of town, meaning district taxpayers would be subsidising their parking. The council also already provides one-hour free parking at some out-of-town car parks.

Michael Wrench, Wyre Forest UKIP's parliamentary spokesman, said: "UKIP wanted to substantiate the council's current parking policy was having an adverse effect on trade by taking £1.5 million out of the local economy.

"The results from the hundreds who responded shows UKIP's concerns are well founded and it was made overwhelmingly clear parking charges are a major concern."

He said as well as agreeing with introducing two hours free parking, everyone interviewed said there should be free parking between 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and market days. Few people believed the council should continue to charge for all parking but accepted there still should be some charges.

More than 80 per cent agreed parking charges were a main reason town centres were struggling and more than 90 per cent said if there was more free parking they would visit more often.

He added: "UKIP believe it is obscene the council make £500,000 profit every year from people parking while spending their money locally and it should not have become an easy source of revenue to disguise their waste and financial incompetence."

Comments (21)

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9:12am Fri 14 Mar 14

Brimstone52 says...

The comments from the non-UKIP councillors show that parking charges are just another source of income. They have lost sight of the fact that they were first implemented as a means of "spreading the load".
The comments from the non-UKIP councillors show that parking charges are just another source of income. They have lost sight of the fact that they were first implemented as a means of "spreading the load". Brimstone52
  • Score: 10

10:28am Fri 14 Mar 14

Ole Timer says...

Parking charges are just another form of local taxation - our town centres are in desperate need of help - a fact ignored by the Council and serving Councillors
Parking charges are just another form of local taxation - our town centres are in desperate need of help - a fact ignored by the Council and serving Councillors Ole Timer
  • Score: 10

12:14pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Shibdrift says...

And just where does councillor Oborski get her information from?
Not from paying attention at council meetings, that's for sure!!!

Any credibility is long gone now.
And just where does councillor Oborski get her information from? Not from paying attention at council meetings, that's for sure!!! Any credibility is long gone now. Shibdrift
  • Score: 13

3:34pm Fri 14 Mar 14

the batshake says...

The figure of 30% of shoppers in Kidderminster town center being from outside wyre forest is a joke, it may have been true ten years ago but have a look now Fran, where the hell are they shopping? Even if it was true so what if we're subsidising their parking they're bringing valuable business to a town center that desperately needs it. It seems to me that some councillors actually want the town center to die so that their own plans for it can come to fruition.
The figure of 30% of shoppers in Kidderminster town center being from outside wyre forest is a joke, it may have been true ten years ago but have a look now Fran, where the hell are they shopping? Even if it was true so what if we're subsidising their parking they're bringing valuable business to a town center that desperately needs it. It seems to me that some councillors actually want the town center to die so that their own plans for it can come to fruition. the batshake
  • Score: 7

6:13pm Fri 14 Mar 14

emjaypee says...

What it needs is a scheme that will allow customers to claim back some of the parking fee. Like Matalan do, you pay for your parking ticket and get it taken off the bill at the till upon showing the receipt. Not saying the whole town centre parking fee should be returned but something similar might help attract more custom.
What it needs is a scheme that will allow customers to claim back some of the parking fee. Like Matalan do, you pay for your parking ticket and get it taken off the bill at the till upon showing the receipt. Not saying the whole town centre parking fee should be returned but something similar might help attract more custom. emjaypee
  • Score: -1

6:47pm Fri 14 Mar 14

luke210389 says...

suprised fran had time to reply, normally to busy playing games. Free parking is all good and well, but where are people going to shop? The council charge extortionate rent so the only things available in town are charity shops and supermarkets and the supermarkets are free anyway. If the shop problem is sorted then yes free parking would be a great idea.
suprised fran had time to reply, normally to busy playing games. Free parking is all good and well, but where are people going to shop? The council charge extortionate rent so the only things available in town are charity shops and supermarkets and the supermarkets are free anyway. If the shop problem is sorted then yes free parking would be a great idea. luke210389
  • Score: 6

12:38pm Sat 15 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

Gradually we are getting the political reality. The crux from fee demanders is that rather than encourage guests into our community, the preference is to demand they pay for our services. Bottom line being, if you have a car you have entitled yourself to pay for services under the guise of a parking fee.

Lets see UKIP be consistent, however, by campaigning to freely celebrate the european community and the free rights of passage each member has in it.

If it isn't good for business why do the supermarkets do it ?

Why have UKIP not highlighted the hospital charges ? Disgraceful, that people have to suffer the indignity of worrying about parking fees, while their main focus is the care of themselves or their role as a carer or friend.
Gradually we are getting the political reality. The crux from fee demanders is that rather than encourage guests into our community, the preference is to demand they pay for our services. Bottom line being, if you have a car you have entitled yourself to pay for services under the guise of a parking fee. Lets see UKIP be consistent, however, by campaigning to freely celebrate the european community and the free rights of passage each member has in it. If it isn't good for business why do the supermarkets do it ? Why have UKIP not highlighted the hospital charges ? Disgraceful, that people have to suffer the indignity of worrying about parking fees, while their main focus is the care of themselves or their role as a carer or friend. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 3

9:52am Sun 16 Mar 14

vassenden says...

Brilliant Idea, only to be thrown out without thinking it through.
I did think that the council were trying to get shoppers into Kidderminster instead of Merry Hill., but Fran Oborski is already complaining that according to her survey!! 30% of shoppers at weekends come from out of town, well wouldn't it be great if that figure were able to be increased to 80%. It may well encourage some of the old store names to think of Kidderminster again.
Instead of sitting with her head in her hands crying over how much revenue they are losing, think of ways to recoup it. There must be loads of ways, and after all the councillors are supposed to be intelligent and forward thinking people. Instead of stating how much the council will lose, nobody wishes to know that, try coming up with ideas to compensate for it. Some of the ways will be unpopular, but if by giving 2 hours free parking brings much needed life back into the town and its shops, there must be numerous ways of funding it. Councillors expenses are how much per year? im sure those could be cut by 50%. That would be their contribution to helping, and I think if the people of Kidderminster saw that was happening they would be more inclined themselves to contribute in some way.
Give it some more CONSTRUCTIVE thought Fran.
Brilliant Idea, only to be thrown out without thinking it through. I did think that the council were trying to get shoppers into Kidderminster instead of Merry Hill., but Fran Oborski is already complaining that according to her survey!! 30% of shoppers at weekends come from out of town, well wouldn't it be great if that figure were able to be increased to 80%. It may well encourage some of the old store names to think of Kidderminster again. Instead of sitting with her head in her hands crying over how much revenue they are losing, think of ways to recoup it. There must be loads of ways, and after all the councillors are supposed to be intelligent and forward thinking people. Instead of stating how much the council will lose, nobody wishes to know that, try coming up with ideas to compensate for it. Some of the ways will be unpopular, but if by giving 2 hours free parking brings much needed life back into the town and its shops, there must be numerous ways of funding it. Councillors expenses are how much per year? im sure those could be cut by 50%. That would be their contribution to helping, and I think if the people of Kidderminster saw that was happening they would be more inclined themselves to contribute in some way. Give it some more CONSTRUCTIVE thought Fran. vassenden
  • Score: 3

2:25pm Sun 16 Mar 14

David Murdoch Head Chef says...

Why ten till four?
Why ten till four? David Murdoch Head Chef
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Sun 16 Mar 14

David Murdoch Head Chef says...

Why the sudden interest?
We would rather be left alone
Ukip making political gain out of obvious questions??
Council give free parking in bromsgrove street and the restrict it?

Clueless ukip
Smoking on no smoking day
Registering cars in your dogs name
Leave us poor town folk alone please
It's a two way street....
Why the sudden interest? We would rather be left alone Ukip making political gain out of obvious questions?? Council give free parking in bromsgrove street and the restrict it? Clueless ukip Smoking on no smoking day Registering cars in your dogs name Leave us poor town folk alone please It's a two way street.... David Murdoch Head Chef
  • Score: -5

7:53pm Sun 16 Mar 14

JKay00 says...

Yeah, and lets build a theme park, and give free cake to old people on Tuesdays, and lets have a casino in Stourport and a high speed railway to connect Kidderminster to Morecambe......

Because just throwing around ideas without bothering to think about the consequences or the limitations is fine. You can just then blame councillors for what is in effect, your crap half baked musings.
Yeah, and lets build a theme park, and give free cake to old people on Tuesdays, and lets have a casino in Stourport and a high speed railway to connect Kidderminster to Morecambe...... Because just throwing around ideas without bothering to think about the consequences or the limitations is fine. You can just then blame councillors for what is in effect, your crap half baked musings. JKay00
  • Score: 1

8:34pm Sun 16 Mar 14

David Murdoch Head Chef says...

Cake?
Cake? David Murdoch Head Chef
  • Score: -1

9:03am Mon 17 Mar 14

vassenden says...

Oh well some more just stupid political aimed comments. I am not fan of UKIP, but most parties , even our main ones sometimes come up with a good idea, only to have the " Politics Only " brigade jump in with both feet because it is not them that thought of it.
Oh well some more just stupid political aimed comments. I am not fan of UKIP, but most parties , even our main ones sometimes come up with a good idea, only to have the " Politics Only " brigade jump in with both feet because it is not them that thought of it. vassenden
  • Score: 1

7:46pm Mon 17 Mar 14

David Murdoch Head Chef says...

How will you monitor if a vehicle only stays two hours
Guess the council can take on extra civil enforcement officers
To check.
Hey they may even do it for free..
Good idea....
How will you monitor if a vehicle only stays two hours Guess the council can take on extra civil enforcement officers To check. Hey they may even do it for free.. Good idea.... David Murdoch Head Chef
  • Score: 0

8:00pm Mon 17 Mar 14

David Murdoch Head Chef says...

It's free or it ain't
Simple
It's free or it ain't Simple David Murdoch Head Chef
  • Score: 0

10:12am Tue 18 Mar 14

BewdleyBugle says...

Parking 'profit' helps to pay for our local services. It's no surprise that people don't want to pay for parking, but how will UKIP fill the resulting hole in the council budget? There are only two alternatives - cut services even more, or increase the amount raised from local taxpayers: us.

If this is UKIP's big idea, it's up to them to explain how it will be financed.
Parking 'profit' helps to pay for our local services. It's no surprise that people don't want to pay for parking, but how will UKIP fill the resulting hole in the council budget? There are only two alternatives - cut services even more, or increase the amount raised from local taxpayers: us. If this is UKIP's big idea, it's up to them to explain how it will be financed. BewdleyBugle
  • Score: 0

10:52am Tue 18 Mar 14

Ole Timer says...

So we are told there are only two alternatives open to the Council - "cut services even more, or increase the amount raised from local taxpayers" - in the real world there is a third way totally alien to local authorities - its called efficiency and living within your means, something practiced by most responsible businesses and households in the land.
So we are told there are only two alternatives open to the Council - "cut services even more, or increase the amount raised from local taxpayers" - in the real world there is a third way totally alien to local authorities - its called efficiency and living within your means, something practiced by most responsible businesses and households in the land. Ole Timer
  • Score: 1

11:23am Tue 18 Mar 14

BewdleyBugle says...

Ole Timer wrote:
So we are told there are only two alternatives open to the Council - "cut services even more, or increase the amount raised from local taxpayers" - in the real world there is a third way totally alien to local authorities - its called efficiency and living within your means, something practiced by most responsible businesses and households in the land.
This council has been cutting about £1m from its budget every year for the past three years, and another £1m is to go over the coming year. The car parking income represents about 5% of the current annual budget (I think).

I'm no supporter of the current council administration, but I find it hard to believe that they have somehow missed £500k worth of 'efficiencies' while cutting £4m from the budget.
[quote][p][bold]Ole Timer[/bold] wrote: So we are told there are only two alternatives open to the Council - "cut services even more, or increase the amount raised from local taxpayers" - in the real world there is a third way totally alien to local authorities - its called efficiency and living within your means, something practiced by most responsible businesses and households in the land.[/p][/quote]This council has been cutting about £1m from its budget every year for the past three years, and another £1m is to go over the coming year. The car parking income represents about 5% of the current annual budget (I think). I'm no supporter of the current council administration, but I find it hard to believe that they have somehow missed £500k worth of 'efficiencies' while cutting £4m from the budget. BewdleyBugle
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Tue 18 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

If Car Parking represents 5% of the budget, does this confirm that 1.25% of budget contributions are made by car owners from outside the district.
Maybe a thankyou for this fact should be placed on each car park sign.
If Car Parking represents 5% of the budget, does this confirm that 1.25% of budget contributions are made by car owners from outside the district. Maybe a thankyou for this fact should be placed on each car park sign. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 3

12:28pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Sparker G says...

Ask an alcoholic if they want a free drink...
Ask a smoker if they would like a free packet of cigarettes....
Ask a motorist if they would like a free tank of fuel...
Ask the public if they want free parking...

The answer to all the above questions are of course yes.

Ask the public what they would prefer...
Free Parking or their bins being emptied?
Ask an alcoholic if they want a free drink... Ask a smoker if they would like a free packet of cigarettes.... Ask a motorist if they would like a free tank of fuel... Ask the public if they want free parking... The answer to all the above questions are of course yes. Ask the public what they would prefer... Free Parking or their bins being emptied? Sparker G
  • Score: 0

6:25pm Wed 19 Mar 14

theotherguy says...

Sparker G wrote:
Ask an alcoholic if they want a free drink...
Ask a smoker if they would like a free packet of cigarettes....
Ask a motorist if they would like a free tank of fuel...
Ask the public if they want free parking...

The answer to all the above questions are of course yes.

Ask the public what they would prefer...
Free Parking or their bins being emptied?
Very good point well made..
[quote][p][bold]Sparker G[/bold] wrote: Ask an alcoholic if they want a free drink... Ask a smoker if they would like a free packet of cigarettes.... Ask a motorist if they would like a free tank of fuel... Ask the public if they want free parking... The answer to all the above questions are of course yes. Ask the public what they would prefer... Free Parking or their bins being emptied?[/p][/quote]Very good point well made.. theotherguy
  • Score: 0

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