Fenland District Council holds off on plans to introduce car parking fees
Council chiefs say car parking charges will not be introduced until after a review of its finances.
Shoppers and businesses across the area have been concerned that Fenland District Council could be looking to introduce charges to its car parks.
During a meeting on Thursday, the district council agreed to hold off on any charges for the time being.
The motion agreed at the meeting states: “This council takes the decision that, unless and until Fenland District Council completes and properly evaluates a comprehensive spending review, (a) no car parking charges will be introduced within Fenland District Council owned car parks, and (b) no disposal will take place of any of the public car parks owned by Fenland District Council.”
But leader of the council John Clark has warned that there are some tough times ahead.
He said: “Nobody wants to see car parking charges being introduced if we can avoid them and of course we want to continue to do all we can to support our town centre businesses. But over the next few years we are inevitably going to have to make some more very tough financial decisions.
“That’s why we need a comprehensive review, looking at spending across all our services. That way, we can look at all the evidence and see how we can make the best possible use of the limited finances we have.
“It will be for all members to make those difficult choices, bearing in mind that we have to produce a balanced budget and we also have to protect the most vulnerable people in our community.”
The discussion was held after a motion was put forward by Parson Drove member Cllr Gavin Booth asking the council to rule out charges.
The decision to hold off has been welcomed by Wisbech trader Ray Wicks.
Mr Wicks, who owns Etcetera, said: “I think it is good news for the traders in the town if they are not thinking of imposing car parking charges imminently.
“It would have an adverse effect on trade in the town if they did introduce charges. One of the attractions is free parking and it helps us compete with the supermarkets. It would affect the whole area.”