WEST Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire has waded into the row over a parking permit plan for Stourbridge’s Old Quarter which has sparked outrage among residents and business bosses in the area.
The Euro MP has hit out at the scheme which, if approved, would see residents in the historic part of the town charged £95 a year (per vehicle) to park outside their home and also having to fork out for books of tickets to enable visitors to stop off without being hit by a fine.
Nikki, of the We Demand a Referendum Now party, believes the proposal, which is at the consultation stage currently, would deliver a “killer blow to local businesses”.
She said: "This just hasn't been thought through. Who thinks up these policies? Local stores have suffered terribly in the past few years and the emphasis should be to encourage people to shop local. Potential added costs for business are not wanted nor needed. This will also discourage people from shopping in the local area as they might worry where to park.”
Nikki added: "In addition proposing that residents should pay to park outside their own homes is just unfair. The Labour Party talk about the 'cost of living crisis', yet they have the audacity to propose essentially new taxes. I am vehemently against this idea and will work with local businesses and residents to fight it.”
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley’s cabinet member for transport, told the News today (Friday) the idea had been put forward by the three ward councillors – Barbara Sykes, Ian Marrey and Chris Hale - off the back of comments made by residents.
He said the council was simply asking for feedback on whether such a scheme would be a good idea, adding: “It’s not in the interests of the council. We’re merely asking the question. If people don’t want it – we will listen.”
The councillor has repeatedly stressed the scheme would be “cost neutral” and said the proposed 12-month trial would only go ahead if 80 per cent of households support the idea.
He said consultation letters were being delivered this week to 45 streets in the Old Quarter – and residents and businesses will have until march 7 to respond.
The debate is set to continue tomorrow (Saturday) on 102.5 The Bridge community radio station at 11am – after House of Magic UK shop owner Stuart Millward challenged Councillor Ian Marrey to discuss the matter live on air.
Former Wollaston and Stourbridge Town councillor Nick Barlow has also been invited to throw his views into the mix.
Meanwhile a Facebook site set up to oppose the plan ‘SAY NO to residential parking permits in Stourbridge Old Quarter!!’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/216084078580270/ has attracted more than 100 members since it went live on Wednesday night.