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Parking cost causes anger

AN enraged Farnborough resident has slammed Rushmoor Council for an 80% increase in the cost of his parking permit.

Steve Earle, 45, of Highview Road, branded the council’s new parking permit charges as a ruse to raise money rather than improve parking for residents.

Under new charges to be implemented on April 1, the price of one permit will rise from £25 to £35 and the cost of a second permit from £25 to £50.

There will be a further increase from £35 to £45 next year, representing a massive rise in the cost of motoring over the course of the next two years.

Condemning the council for lack of consultation, Mr Earle said: “The council is there to serve the community, not rule it.”

“The council have taken it upon themselves to make unilateral changes to the parking scheme,” he said.

“Only a few residents have heard of the changes because their permits have come up for renewal and, presumably, the council hopes to introduce these measures by stealth and dilute the inevitable protest over the course of the year.”

So strongly does he feel about the changes and the lack of consultation before the increase, he has leafleted 200 of his neighbours, telling what the council has done and calling on them to protest against it.

Fellow resident, Margaret Greenaway, said the increased charges was taxation by stealth and claimed that the whole process was anti-democratic.

“The residents had no objections when the charge of £25 was brought into being as parking here was extremely bad.

“There has been no consultation with the residents (regarding the increase), it is obviously another way of taxing people by stealth and certainly the beginning of the end of democracy.”

Rushmoor’s parking manager, Mike Bamber, conceded there had not been direct consultation before the cabinet approved the increases, but said a decision to revise the parking regime followed residents’ complaints about the current regime.

He said the current charges had been agreed in consultation with Hampshire County Council in 1986 and had not changed since, adding that had charges gone up in line with inflation the increases would have been even greater.

Mr Earle’s ward councillor, John Wall, said that he could understand why residents had balked at the price rises because the reason behind them had not been explained.

“It’s not only consultation, it’s information. There’s good ways and bad ways of doing things. If it had not been increased since 1986 — I mean, that’s 18 years. You need to tell people the facts and say if it had not been increased in line with inflation.

“I have talked to hundreds of residents in my ward, they are reasonable people if you tell them the background.”


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
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