Council pledges more time to listen to traders’ concerns

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Derbyshire Dales District Council has pledged to give more time to listen to local traders’ concerns after a public outcry over plans to increase parking fees.

Following petitions from Matlock, Ashbourne and Bakewell representatives, the authority has agreed to meet with traders – even though the public consultation officially closed on Friday, June 21.

Any implementation of changes – originally scheduled for this autumn – will not now happen until early 2014.

Derbyshire Dales District Council Leader Cllr Lewis Rose said: “We acknowledge that the traders have gone to a great deal of trouble to submit their own proposals and we are happy to discuss these again. What we cannot guarantee, however, is that there will be much room for manoeuvre.

“As a local authority that receives the lowest Government grant of any in Derbyshire, we simply don’t have the cash to implement new ideas without finding a way to pay for them. If figures released recently are confirmed by central Government, we now have to find £1.2 million additional savings on top of half a million pounds saved in recent times.”

The public consultation recommendations were:

Introduce the option of a half hour charge within short stay car parks

Designate specific town centre car parks as short stay only

Introduce a flat rate charge for evening / overnight parking from 6pm to 6am

Increase parking charges to help keep pace with inflation

Bring additional car parks into charge

Offer, at a charge, a second or replacement residents’ free parking permit

Re-introduce a charge for the annual parking permit at the Agricultural Business Centre for livestock market traders

Introduce parking charges for Blue Badge holders but with an additional hour free on top of any paid time

Use parking income to carry out a machine replacement programme offering the option to pay on entry using cash, debit/credit card or phone.