50p parking charge ‘will kill’ Matlock Bath

Thousands of bikers ride through Matlock Bath to protest against proposed parking charges. Picture: Andrew Roe.
Thousands of bikers ride through Matlock Bath to protest against proposed parking charges. Picture: Andrew Roe.
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Motorcyclists will soon be charged 50p an hour to park on Matlock Bath’s promenade after Derbyshire County Council passed a controversial new traffic measure.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet on Tuesday which was also attended by a number of bikers protesting against the plan.

The proposal has been the subject of fierce opposition in the biking community and a specially organised protest ride at the resort earlier this year attracted hundreds of riders.

Allison Chouhan, who has owned the Bikers’ Gearbox shop on the promenade for the last 18 years, said: “I won’t have a business because of this - it has been hard enough the last couple of years and now with this.

“It is not just about the 50p charge - it is about the way the bikers are perceived.

“The public come to see the bikes and we have noticed that bikers are already starting to go to other places - Facebook is a very powerful thing.”

Allison Page, 58, from Nottinghamshire, said: “I go to Matlock Bath every weekend during the summer and this will kill it.

“There was so much opposition in the consultation but they took no notice. The shopkeepers are all against it except one.”

However, despite the strength of feeling amongst the protestors who attended the meeting, the proposal passed the meeting without difficulty.

Proposing the change, Councillor Dean Collins, cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said the scheme was an improvement on a similar one rejected five years ago.

He said the new plan would ensure a regular turnover of parking spaces in the village and that the village would benefit from an improved parking system as a result of the ‘self-financing’ scheme.

Responding, council leader Ann Western, said: “We welcome bikers to Derbyshire, we always have and we want that attraction to continue.

“We recognise there is a strength of feeling on this issue but I believe that people with recognise in the long run that this is a good thing.”

Other cabinet members present argued the ‘small’ charge was unlikely to put off anybody from coming to the popular tourist spot and that the move needed to be seen in the context of the ‘massive cuts’ that were being imposed on children’s centres and adult care, among others.

A council spokesperson said the charges will be introduced later this year as soon as the payment machines are in place.