THURROCK Labour councillors have slammed Conservative proposals for inflation busting increases to parking charges as a barrier to residents visiting parks and damaging to local businesses.
A report which was due to be presented at last Tuesday’s shambolically cancelled regeneration committee has revealed plans for double digit increases in car parks serving local businesses in Grays and South Ockendon, plus brand-new charges for nature spots such as Coalhouse Fort and South Ockendon Recreational Park.
Cllr Jane Pothecary, Labour’s spokesperson for Environment said:
“At a time when the importance of good, quality open space is a top priority, we have proposals here which will make it harder for people to enjoy these spaces.
“Imposing new charges on Coalhouse Fort and South Ockendon Rec will price people out of some of the loveliest open space which Thurrock has to offer.
“We know that the Tories have landed the council with a £34 million financial black hole, but that doesn’t justify pricing people away from essential green space”
Cllr Martin Kerin, who speaks for Labour on Regeneration, said:
“It is no secret that local businesses – especially shops – are struggling with the ongoing Covid pandemic – it just makes it no sense to make it more unaffordable to access local shops and businesses in Grays and South Ockendon.
“The proposals to hike the parking tariffs of Canterbury Parade in South Ockendon and Darnley Road, Cromwell Road and other car parks servicing the Grays High Street is a blow which local businesses and residents do not deserve.
“Does anyone really believe this would this be happening if the Tories hadn’t lost control of the finances?”