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Parking charges ruled out pending spending review

No charges will be introduced in Fenland District Council's car parks unless and until a comprehensive spending review shows they are essential to help balance the council's books.

That was the outcome of the full council meeting last week (May 21).
 
Following a lengthy debate, councillors passed unanimously a motion proposed by Conservative Councillor Chris Boden.
 
It read: "This council understands the pressures faced by the Market Towns to ensure they remain viable shopping and business centres for the whole of the Fenland District Council area.
 
"Therefore to ensure no avoidable additional burdens are unnecessarily placed on the Market Towns and to provide assurance to residents and businesses, this Council takes the decision that, unless and until Fenland District Council completes and properly evaluates a Comprehensive Spending review, (a) no car parking charges will be introduced within Fenland District Council owned care parks, and (b) no disposal will take place of any of the public car parks owned by Fenland District Council."
 
Cllr Boden put forward his motion as an amendment to an original one proposed by Liberal Democrat Cllr Gavin Booth that sought to prevent any parking charges being introduced within the next four years.
 
Cllr Booth's full motion read: "This council understands the pressures faced by the Market Towns to ensure they remain viable shopping centres for the whole of the Fenland District Council area. Therefore to ensure no additional burdens are placed on the Market Towns and provide assurance to residents; this Council takes the decision that no car parking charges will be introduced within Fenland District Council owned car parks within the current municipal term of May 2015 to May 2019."
 
Afterwards, FDC Leader Cllr John Clark said: "Nobody wants to see car parking charges being introduced if we can avoid them and of course we want to continue to do all we can to support our town centre businesses. But over the next few years we are inevitably going to have to make some more very tough financial decisions.
 
"That's why we need a comprehensive review, looking at spending across all our services. That way, we can look at all the evidence and see how we can make the best possible use of the limited finances we have.
 
"It will be for all Members to make those difficult choices, bearing in mind that we have to produce a balanced budget and we also have to protect the most vulnerable people in our community."