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'Relax parking regulations,' MP tells Stockton council
TEESSIDE’S Conservative MP has called on Stockton Council to relax parking penalties.
James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, echoed comment by Eric Pickles, minister for local government, calling on authorities across the UK not to penalise people “popping to the shops.”
But Mike Smith, Stockton councillor with responsibility for transport, hit back, saying the borough’s current plans would lead to increased flexibility and more spaces and parking would become available on Stockton High Street.
Mr Wharton said he had campaigned against Stockton Council’s proposals to introduce pay and display parking charges on Yarm High Street.
He said: “Stockton council Cited the high number of penalties issued in Yarm as a reason for introducing parking charges, but many residents have complained that overly officious parking wardens imposed penalties in circumstances where a little common sense would have meant no fine being levied.”
Commenting on Mr Pickles' proposals, Mr Wharton said: "This is exactly the sort of common-sense approach that is needed. A number of people across the constituency have contacted me about parking fines, and all too often it is those who have only infringed parking regulations in a very minor way. Stockton should heed this advice from Eric Pickles and be a bit more sensible.”
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “Major changes in Stockton town centre with the multi-million pound investment will see the introduction of High Street parking and flexible tariffs.
“In Yarm, visitors to the town tell us there is a need to increase the availability of short stay spaces and provide more long stay parking.
"Consequently, the borough council remains committed to a solution to provide a long stay car park in the town. The introduction of pay and display will allow motorists a flexible approach, whether staying ten minutes or four hours using a clear and easy to manage system.
"These changes are being introduced, first and foremost to increase the availability of spaces. This, combined with making the parking arrangements easier to understand, will help encourage more shoppers to visit the town centre shops therefore boosting turnover for retailers.”