Tory councillors in rural areas criticised for voting in favour of car parking increases at popular Northampton park
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Tory councillors who voted in favour of increased parking charges in Northampton town centre have been criticised for 'not knowing the area'.
Five out of eight councillors who voted in favour of introducing whopping increases charges to The Racecourse represent rural parts of the county.
A motion to introduce increased parking charges at The Racecourse, Brixworth Country Park and Daventry Country Park was passed at a West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) cabinet meeting last night (Tuesday, January 17).
The Conservative-led council plans to introduce the new fees by April, with automatic number plate recognition systems to be installed at each site by summer.
What are the charges?
The following charges are the highest increases proposed by WNC.
The Racecourse is currently a free to park site. Proposals could see motorists charged £3.30 for a three-hour stay.
Click here for the full list of proposed charges.
Who voted in favour of the motion?
The whole of WNC’s cabinet, who are: Conservative councillor Larratt (Nene Valley ward), Conservative councillor Mike Hallam (Boothville and Parklands ward), Conservative councillor Adam Brown (Bugbrooke ward), Conservative councillor Rebecca Breese (Middleton Cheney ward), Conservative councillor David Smith (Woodford and Weedon ward), Conservative councillor Daniel Lister (Long Buckby), Conservative councillor Fiona Baker (Brackley ward) and Conservative councillor Matt Golby (Duston West and St. Crispin).
How far away are those councillors in rural wards?
Councillor Baker's ward (Brackley) is 22 miles away from The Racecourse.
Councillor Adam Brown's ward (Bugbrooke) is seven miles away from The Racecourse.
Councillor Daniel Lister's ward (Long Buckby) is 11 miles away from The Racecourse.
Councillor Rebecca Breese's ward (Middleton Cheney) is 27 miles away from The Racecourse.
Councillor David Smith's ward (Woodford and Weedon) is 18 miles away from The Racecourse.
Labour councillor Danielle Stone (Castle ward) said this decision is being made by 'people who don't know the area'.
The councillor said: "I was horrified when I heard about the proposal. It came out of the blue. Nobody has been consulted. Ward councillors haven't been consulted.
"The decision is being made by people who don't know the area. They don't know the issues. They don't know the local residents and it's really not a good situation.
"The cabinet is predominately Conservatives from rural areas. Absolutely. Why have they picked on The Racecourse?
"I'm hoping the council see sense and drop it.
"The Labour Group is going to be calling it in. We will have a big debate about it at a scrutiny committee. So hopefully we will win that argument. We want a better, deeper look into it all."
Mounts resident speaks out
Councillor Larratt said the main reason for introducing charges to The Racecourse is because it is misused by those 'walking into town' instead of using the park.
Member of the public Rowan Smith countered that argument saying that his son, who lives in Hunt Street in The Mounts, has to use The Racecourse car park as a 'last resort' because there is nowhere for him to park.