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Conservatives shut down debate on car parking

September 6, 2011 4:34 PM

Conservatives and Labour joined forces in today's Wiltshire Council Environment Committee meeting to close down any in-depth study on the car parking fiasco. Liberal Democrats called for real scrutiny of the Conservatives' decisions in a separate Task Group, but were refused.

Immediately following the meeting, Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Jon Hubbard asked "By stopping any in-depth study of the car parking situation in Wiltshire, what are they trying to hide?"

"The Conservatives have set the car parking issue up so that by the time it comes to be scrutinised at the meeting in November, it will be too late for any changes. The Conservatives are yet again forcing through what they want, and again not listening to the people of Wiltshire. To add to the damage, the agenda for the Environment Select Committee in November is already packed with important discussions on Housing, Highways, and Air Quality that could now be indefinitely postponed. The Conservative Administration appears to be making every effort to avoid allowing opposition councillors, and the public, to scrutinise and amend what the Council does."

Cllr Howard Marshall, Lib Dem lead member for Environment, said: "Wiltshire Conservatives and Labour rejected a Task Group to examine the impact of the projected shortfall in revenue in car parking, and the knock-on effect there will be on the funding of rural buses. Instead, Wiltshire Conservatives chose to squeeze the item into an already packed meeting, just a week before the Council must make the final decision on the car parking fiasco.

"I'm bitterly disappointed that we are seeing yet another promise from the Conservative administration broken. We were told at the special Cabinet meeting just a few weeks ago that the the Review on the service, promised for November's full council meeting, would be thoroughly examined by both Scrutiny and Cabinet before being presented to members. Instead we will have a rushed discussion in a busy Select Committee meeting just 7 days before the final decision is made, leaving no time for any changes to be made, or for issues raised to be examined."

Cllr Brian Dalton, (Salisbury Harnham) commented, "I'm very disappointed that today Labour and Conservative councillors united to stop an in-depth scrutiny of the impact of the shambolic car-parking policy adopted by Wiltshire Council. Once again we see Labour saying one thing locally here in Salisbury, but supporting the Conservatives in County Hall where they think no one will notice."