Diligent readers of last week’s Blackmore Vale Magazine might have noticed that tucked away in an article about the SSDC voting to freeze council tax was the announcement that “car parking fees are proposed in order to “protect community services” (or council officers’ and councilors’ expenses –Ed)
The article continues “The district council will not introduce parking charges in Wincanton and Castle Cary. Instead, it has agreed to accept a £9,928 annual fee from Castle Cary Town Council so they can remain free for the next three years. Ansford Parish Council will contribute £3,000 towards the sum. Wincanton Town Council is expected to pay £12,000 this financial year and £24,000 each year for 2013/14 and 2014/15.”
So each householder and business will be taxed to allow shoppers and others to continue to park for free in Wincanton. The decision appears to be driven by SSDC councilors who live in the larger towns and who think it unfair that people pay parking charges in, say, Yeovil, but not in Wincanton or Castle Carey.
Wincanton does not have a traffic or a parking problem, so charges are not needed in order to control parking. It appears that it is illegal for a district council to impose car parking charges as a revenue raising measure. But not to impose a”Tax” on residents by the back door.
The plight of Wincanton High Street is well known and it is difficult to see how a district council with a mission to promote business regeneration can propose such a measure. But then, they have moved the health centre away from the town centre and filled a new housing development with problem families, so anything is possible.
Nick Colbert, Wincanton’s district councillor has written an open letter to the SSDC’s portfolio holders objecting to the move, criticising the logic and pointing out its illegality. Click here to see the letter on “Wincanton Window”.