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Tory lapdogs

I’ve just returned from my lunch-break walk, down to the beach. There were hundreds of people there enjoying the unexpectedly fine day. No surprise then, that the car park was full. But pretty soon, if things go according to plan, East Lothian Council is going to charge motorists for parking in ten coastal leisure areas, hitherto free, and among them will be Gullane beach.

That’s right; a peaceful place of public pleasure and if you need a car to get there and don’t have a blue badge, you’re going to have to  pay to get in. A council whose stated policy is to improve the visitor experience is in reality going to drive those visitors away. Why? Please tell me why. Given the nature of our weather, the money raised is hardly going to fund new schools and hospitals. Indeed, it’s likely to be one of those taxes . . . and make no mistake folks, thats what it is . . . that costs more to collect that it brings in.

This is the council’s statement:

The parking fees will be collected by a combination of automatic barriers and ticket machines. It is expected that work to install the necessary infrastructure including electricity and road works will cost around £700,000. The work will be carried out in phases from 2013 to 2015. Council estimates that following the introduction of charges there will be an initial drop in visitor numbers but a recovery soon afterwards with an increase in visitors of 10% over a 10-year period, yielding an average net annual income of £440,000.’

I would like to know the basis of that income forecast, but I can bet you that it does not take into account a very likely circumstance, that at the next Election, which will take place the year after the infrastructure work is complete, the present administration will be booted out and replaced by a party, or parties, whose manifesto will include a pledge to abolish coastal parking charges.

The current administration, whose spiteful policy this is, is a coalition of Labour, a minority party on the council, and their traditional arch-enemies, the Conservatives. The councillor returned by my village is one of those Tories, which means, presumably that he voted for a step that is manifestly unpopular with the majority of the people who chose him to represent them. I can tell him that the last thing expected by  the blue-rinsed ladies and suited gents who ticked his box at the last election was that they would have a Labour council as a result. The second last is that when they drive down to the bents to exercise their pets, it would cost them two quid a time.

I’m for hanging Councillor Day and his colleagues up by their thumbs, but that might be a little extreme. Instead, I’d happily sign a recall petition to remove them from office. Sadly such machinery doesn’t exist. It’s time that it did.


Categories: General, Politics
  1. February 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    ….and in other news Midlothian Council are considering (or is it already a done deal one wonders?) issuing parking permits…to residents. At a cost of £100.00 upwards, pa. Bloody shocking! Apparently residents have complained that as the main car park in the town is no longer free, commuters are parking in residential streets. So the Council decide to issue permits for residents, fair enough, but to charge for them?? Madness!


  2. February 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Okay, if all the fly-parkers get hammered, one supposes. But what do they mean ‘initial indicative costs are likely to vary’? What’s the basis of variation? ‘You pay us, we employ a warden, he keeps your streets free for you to park in, by handing out tickets’. That’s how all cooncil parking strategies work, but why bother? Not mad, just tedious.

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