In summer recess I always try to take up a special and extra mission– one that it is not possible to do timewise when Parliament is sitting.
One summer I visited on foot as many shops on our local high streets as I could. The single issue that shopkeepers raised with me – over and over and over again – were the problems that their customers had parking – particularly if it was literally to pop and shop for just a few items.
Not surprisingly with Labour run Haringey ramping up parking charges to £3.00 an hour in some high streets – their customers were going elsewhere. This was hitting our wonderful local high street shops extremely hard.
So my Liberal Democrat council colleagues in their manifesto for the council elections on Thursday came up with a pop and shop policy and have committed to the following:
‘To support our high streets, help shoppers and protect local jobs the Lib Dems will provide 30 minutes’ free parking on local high streets.’
We love our high streets and we want to support them fully. Of course – we also want people to walk, cycle and use their cars less. But what we don’t want is people who use their cars – to use them to drive further to places where they can park more cheaply or free – thus driving further and not bringing their custom to our local shops.
Our local communities are fantastic – and part of the reason people love living in them is because they have such wonderful local shops and traders. They are the heart of our local communities.
The Liberal Democrat group on the Council put a motion to Haringey Council last year to allow 30 minutes free parking. It is a scheme being adopted in other areas around the country and is working well. However Labour councillors voted it down.
These local elections on Thursday are an opportunity for people to vote Liberal Democrat and change Haringey for the better.