Greens have welcomed a Labour u-turn on parking fees which will now see 25% increases in pay-and display parking in key areas of the city. Reflecting on proposals, the Greens say while the plans are the right move, they reveal the “shocking hypocrisy and opportunism” of the Labour Party who sought to score political points when the Greens put similar proposals forward last year.
The Labour proposals at the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee this week will see up to 25% increases in on-street pay-and-display parking charges on the seafront as well as in Queens Park, Rottingdean, Preston Park, Hove station as well as 25% increases in visitors permits and car club permits.
The proposals come almost exactly a year since Labour councillor Alan Robins said of parking charges that “any increase could finish a small business”. Councillor Robins was speaking on Labour attempts
in 2015 to freeze parking charges in the city.
Back in January 2015, when Greens were setting parking charges, Labour councillor Gill Mitchell said that: “We have always been clear that above–inflation price increases to parking charges are unacceptable”, and back in 2013 accused the Greens of “not listening to residents or councillors who are calling for a more sensible fee structure”. Now, as leader of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Mitchell has proposed retaining the Green fee structure with 25% increases in key areas.
Green Councillor and spokesperson for environment, transport and sustainability Pete West said:
“We are pleased to see Labour has come around to the Green way of thinking on parking fees, now that Labour councillors finally realise what it means to be in administration. No longer the promise of parking fee freezes, when they realise what that means for other council services threatened with the axe.
“I do however wonder what Labour supporters who signed up to their manifesto think, now there has been an increase in parking charges beyond what Greens proposed. I’m also deeply concerned about increases in car club permits and charges for low emission vehicles, which are sending the wrong message to drivers trying to cut air pollution.
“Greens have always been clear that parking fees are a powerful tool for incentivising more sustainable forms of transport to tackle pollution and dangerous air quality problems. We welcome Labour’s u-turn on this, but it begs the question, what exactly does the Labour Party stand for?”