A week or so ago I mentioned that I help write the Conservatives Manifesto for the forth coming elections. The first pledge is to sort out Parkwise. The overzealous parking attendants and to bring the enforcement of parking under the control of the council which will see a return to common sense, a yellow card scheme and a local councillor appeal panel. Sensible suggestions for sensible parking arrangements in the Lytham and St. Annes. (I’ll just clarify that Mill Street and other car parks in Kirkham will remain free)

Parkwise have given the council some concern and the Conservatives want to see a sensible approach to this. We released this pledge to the papers and they contacted who a leading opposition councillor for a quote. Her response was an off the top of her head comment that all parking would be free under a council lead by the Independents. I wonder if they were full consulted and on what evidence is this a good idea.

It sounds like a good idea I know, but when you stop and think about it there would be two horrendous consequences. Firstly, you’d never be able to park in Lytham or St. Annes as people would abandon cars all over and not return to them all day. This would not help trade and lead to falling sales as it did when the police gave up on parking enforcement and before Parkwise started.

The second and the most devastating is it would lose £300,000 a year in income in profit, that’s nearly 7% on the council tax. That’s 20 bin men or litter pickers jobs, that’s three times the investment on young peoples facilities that the Conservatives have made this year. Take that income away and you have a black hole in your budget, not just this year but every year. And what’s more that’s profit, you still have to maintain the car parks and pay none domestic business rates on the car parks. The £300,000 suddenly doubles and what chance has a council got of ever investing in services or building the play parks and such like that residents want.

In life every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Scrapping car parking fees and the opposite reaction could be shutting the pools and no more work on Memorial Gardens. The suggestion shows naivety beyond belief and a reason why these people made such a bad job last time round.

I know I’ve banged on a bit about this, but it does beggars belief that this could be a serious suggestion from someone who is serious about running a council with your money. No wonder Government Inspectors thought they were weak with a void of political leadership.


Simon@wesham.com 681983