Calling time on free parking
Tories are normally described as the the defenders of free trade, but when it comes to motorists they come over all protectionist.
Here in South Shields, Tory councillors have abandoned their free market principles after a local pub, The Britannia in Cleadon Village, has decided to start charging motorists for the use of their car park. The pub’s owners have decided on this action after they found their customers had difficulty parking in the pub’s car park, as people using the local schools, shops, church and public transport also use the car park.
Local Tory councillor Donald Wood however, is suggesting that traditional free parking means that it’s really some kind of honorary community property:
The car park has always been free, and is seen more as a car park for the village than exclusively for the pub. People use it for their shopping and, more importantly, for the school run.
Living on West Avenue, being the neighbour of the Nook shops and the new Cleadon Park health centre, I understand that living next to such amenities can be problematic. Staff and customers take up parking space in the street, chew up the grass verges with their cars and drop their litter, and the council does nothing to ease the problems of residents. So I can sympathise with the concerns of the residents of Cleadon Village and their councillors.
But at a time when pubs are struggling, if a pub/restaurant like The Britannia is losing business because other people are using their pub car park as a park and ride, then they’ve got to take action to to protect their business.