by Wetherby Liberal Democrats on 5 February, 2019
Potential car park charges in Wetherby and other outlying areas of Leeds have been dropped by Leeds’ Labour Council after stiff opposition by Lib Dems and other parties.
The success of the multi-party campaign will bring delight in Wetherby as it faces up to the challenges posed in all market towns because of the rise in Internet shopping.
The Yorkshire Post referred to a spectacular Labour u-turn. And so it was. But rather than score political points perhaps it’s s better just to celebrate a victory for common sense.
David Hopps, secretary of Wetherby Liberal Democrats said: “We are delighted that Leeds City Council have had the good sense to listen to the arguments put forward and have abandoned proposals to introduce parking charges in our market towns which would have put the financial health of Wetherby and other areas at risk.
“We recognise that this has been a concerted campaign in which Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – as well as independent groups – have been of the same mind. We are happy to give them credit.
“But it is too easy just to rubbish Leeds Labour on this. And it was a terrible idea. But the Tories cannot slash the central Government grants to local councils to such extremes without bad decisions being proposed as a consequence to try to balance the books. That’s the economic reality.”
Plans to see charging in Guiseley, Wetherby and Garforth had been included in the authority’s draft budget proposals, published late last year, and were optimistically expected to generate the authority an extra £200,000-a-year.
But the council’s final budget proposals released today (February 5) show the charges are no longer part of the authority’s proposed final budget for 2019/20.
Hopps said: “This is a victory but it is just one important battle. Market towns all over the country are under tremendous pressure and the coming years will be challenging.
“Wetherby still faces many transport and parking issues and they must be faced with vigour and imagination. We believe we have the best plans for the challenges we face.”
“We will continue to liaise with all those seeking solutions for the benefit of the town and show the desire to build a town that is loved and valued by people of all ages.”