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Cumbria Council says ‘yes’ to on-street parking charges

Parking on the streets of Cumbria will no longer be free after the council agreed to go ahead with a new parking enforcement strategy.

The decision, which has been made recently, has been met with widespread public disapproval and two Cumbrian MPs have warned that the charges, to be introduced in 11 towns across the county, will be harmful to local businesses.

Opposing South Lake MP Jim Farron wrote an open letter to voice his constituents’ concerns. In it he said: “I am extremely concerned that these proposals will have a detrimental effect on our towns and local businesses.

“If we continue to treat our towns as ‘honeypots’ for the council to dip into, that will inevitably cause real damage to the area.”

He also pointed out that many towns rely heavily on tourism and attracting visitors and argued that the parking charges are a stealth tax and neither the public nor traders had been sufficiently consulted.

Keith Little, a cabinet member for transport, disagreed with this statement and commented that the decision to implement the on-street parking fees had been taken in accordance to rules and regulations.

However, Carlisle Conservative MP John Stevenson, also weighed in on the discussion; he said that he fears if the plans to introduce on-street parking go ahead, it will be a "huge strategic error by the council". He is concerned the charges could encourage shoppers to shop in towns such as Gretna or Newcastle which still offer free parking rather than the city centre of Carlisle.

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