Monday, February 05, 2007

Parking charges decision confirmed at call-in

The Council’s Planning, Transport and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny panel has this afternoon dismissed the call-in of the decision on raising parking charges in Bath after an in-depth discussion covering consultation, budgetary process and the Diamond Card scheme.
Councillor David Bellotti (Lib Dem, Lyncombe), who lead the call-in, said:
"I am very pleased that the panel has recommended that: in the future car parking charges will be considered in the annual budget round so that other policies of the Council can be taken into account; consultations should be formalised; risks should be properly assessed; and charges should only be raised in the context of an overall transport strategy."

Councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot), Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny panel added:
“Today’s meeting has been a useful exercise. I felt that the basics of democratic decision-making had not been fulfilled in the original decision and, although the panel voted to dismiss the call-in, I am glad we had a chance to discuss issues relating to parking and transport in Bath. Hopefully this will lead to positive changes.”

“I do not believe that lunch with the Chamber of Commerce behind closed doors sufficiently demonstrates open accountability and good practice in consultation. Neither am I convinced that a comprehensive risk assessment of the knock-on implications for Bath’s economy was adequately carried out.”

“However, at the end of the day we have a concessionary fares scheme which is being used by 28,000 people across Bath and North East Somerset, and we should be proud that this Lib Dem promise has been fulfilled.”