Positive progress in parking row

Darlington Borough Council leader Councillor Bill Dixon

Darlington Borough Council leader Councillor Bill Dixon

First published in News

POSITIVE headway is being made in a parking row that has divided Darlington, a trader who attended a private meeting with council officials has said.

The town’s leader, Councillor Bill Dixon, met with a cross-section of traders last week to discuss the heated issue.

The meeting was arranged in response to concerns raised by disgruntled traders who say restrictive parking policies – such as excess yellow lines, overly-efficient traffic wardens and too few loading bays - are impacting on business and putting off shoppers.

The issue came to a head recently when florist Rob Metcalfe put up posters accusing the council of creating a ghost town and said its parking policies had damaged his business and left him homeless.

His concerns were echoed last week by Distinct Darlington – a body that works closely with the council to improve the town centre and develop its business environment.

The organisation’s chair, businesswoman Nicola Reading, said the council needed to act before the town “died a death.”

Coun Dixon responded by organising last week’s meeting, which saw a small group of traders – not including Mr Metcalfe or Ms Reading - given the opportunity to air their concerns about parking and other issues.

Alex Blackham, who runs The Diner in Darlington’s covered market and helps to organise the town’s Sunday People’s Market, said the meeting had been positive.

He said: “The traders invited were from different areas of the town centre – different parts of the town have different issues and they were brought to the table.

“We told the council the things we thought needed to change and there were some common goals raised and some that were specific to certain areas.

“Many issues were raised, including parking, and the council said they would go away and speak to people and come back to us with their responses.”

He added: “I’m happy with the initial stages – it’s unreasonable to expect things to change straight away and if you give people false hope, the backlash could be quite brutal but we were discussing things to improve the whole experience of visiting Darlington.”

A council spokeswoman said: "The leader and senior officers met with a cross-section of traders and the meeting went very well and was productive with a good exchange of views and suggestions for the town.

“We will look into the suggestions and report back when we have more details and firmer proposals."

Comments (11)

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2:43pm Tue 22 Jul 14

JJ2000 says...

Ok. Is it me or does Mr Dixon resemble one Joseph Stalin?
Ok. Is it me or does Mr Dixon resemble one Joseph Stalin? JJ2000
  • Score: 6

3:24pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

Strange not to invite the chairwoman of BID. How was this cross section chosen?
Strange not to invite the chairwoman of BID. How was this cross section chosen? Homshaw1
  • Score: 6

4:28pm Tue 22 Jul 14

MST1975 says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
Strange not to invite the chairwoman of BID. How was this cross section chosen?
And by whom was it chosen?
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: Strange not to invite the chairwoman of BID. How was this cross section chosen?[/p][/quote]And by whom was it chosen? MST1975
  • Score: 6

4:32pm Tue 22 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

JJ2000 wrote:
Ok. Is it me or does Mr Dixon resemble one Joseph Stalin?
There was me thinking i had arrived in the Borough of Darlinski???Or Dixonski Silly me Dixon is all talk he says on thing to your face and as soon as he is out of ear shot stabs you in the back???
[quote][p][bold]JJ2000[/bold] wrote: Ok. Is it me or does Mr Dixon resemble one Joseph Stalin?[/p][/quote]There was me thinking i had arrived in the Borough of Darlinski???Or Dixonski Silly me Dixon is all talk he says on thing to your face and as soon as he is out of ear shot stabs you in the back??? oliviaden6
  • Score: 3

5:11pm Tue 22 Jul 14

ron_forthehills says...

Shame a certain Ms Hankin wasn't invited, someone with the success of Darlington at her heart, and after all of her campaigning should have been respectfully listened to, instead all it took to get the council's attention was a poster? Maybe we should all put posters up
Shame a certain Ms Hankin wasn't invited, someone with the success of Darlington at her heart, and after all of her campaigning should have been respectfully listened to, instead all it took to get the council's attention was a poster? Maybe we should all put posters up ron_forthehills
  • Score: 13

5:18pm Tue 22 Jul 14

DP20 says...

DBC don't want peoe in this meeting who have an opinion, they had the meeting so they can say they tried but with no satisfactory resolution, it's simple nothing changes parking is the same and the town dies as ppl shop in more car and shopper friendly towns......thanks Bill
DBC don't want peoe in this meeting who have an opinion, they had the meeting so they can say they tried but with no satisfactory resolution, it's simple nothing changes parking is the same and the town dies as ppl shop in more car and shopper friendly towns......thanks Bill DP20
  • Score: 11

10:04pm Tue 22 Jul 14

grantojosh says...

Who were the cross section of traders, how were they chosen, who chose them?
Who were the cross section of traders, how were they chosen, who chose them? grantojosh
  • Score: 4

12:37am Wed 23 Jul 14

Spy Boy says...

Cross section of Box Ticking Bill's Best Buddies. The nodding dogs of Darlo. As for the rest of the traders, don't hold your breath waiting for a change any time soon. The council just take part in Box Ticking exercises, so they look as though they're following procedures. In reality it's all such a bore to them.

As for being a Joseph Stalin lookalike, I thought we'd all established that he looked more like a garden gnome.
Cross section of Box Ticking Bill's Best Buddies. The nodding dogs of Darlo. As for the rest of the traders, don't hold your breath waiting for a change any time soon. The council just take part in Box Ticking exercises, so they look as though they're following procedures. In reality it's all such a bore to them. As for being a Joseph Stalin lookalike, I thought we'd all established that he looked more like a garden gnome. Spy Boy
  • Score: 3

2:41am Wed 23 Jul 14

SirLance says...

Spy Boy wrote:
Cross section of Box Ticking Bill's Best Buddies. The nodding dogs of Darlo. As for the rest of the traders, don't hold your breath waiting for a change any time soon. The council just take part in Box Ticking exercises, so they look as though they're following procedures. In reality it's all such a bore to them.

As for being a Joseph Stalin lookalike, I thought we'd all established that he looked more like a garden gnome.
--He acts like a garden gnome!
[quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: Cross section of Box Ticking Bill's Best Buddies. The nodding dogs of Darlo. As for the rest of the traders, don't hold your breath waiting for a change any time soon. The council just take part in Box Ticking exercises, so they look as though they're following procedures. In reality it's all such a bore to them. As for being a Joseph Stalin lookalike, I thought we'd all established that he looked more like a garden gnome.[/p][/quote]--He acts like a garden gnome! SirLance
  • Score: 2

9:07am Thu 24 Jul 14

Anon1961 says...

The town on a Saturday afternoon always seems busy to me. Granted, I probably do quite a bit of shopping online these days (like the majority of people i suspect).

The council bashing seems a bit silly to me also. DBC must be one of the biggest employers in the borough. Presumably, the majority all live in the town, all pay their own Council Tax, in all likelihood recieve less than the average national annual salary and yet the good hard work they do, gets slagged off by people on here. I think if I were a shop trader in this town, i'd think a bit more about the customer service that gets portrayed on here . . . and if I worked for DBC I would pick and choose the shops and traders I did business with.

Incidently, I parked in Commercial Street car park a couple of months ago (purchased a valid ticket) and visited Metcalfe's shop to buy some flowers for my partner's birthday. No exaggeration but they had wilted and died in 2 days. I can honestly say, I've bought longer lasting and cheaper flowers from Morrisons.


Ohh and I've never had a parking fine either.
The town on a Saturday afternoon always seems busy to me. Granted, I probably do quite a bit of shopping online these days (like the majority of people i suspect). The council bashing seems a bit silly to me also. DBC must be one of the biggest employers in the borough. Presumably, the majority all live in the town, all pay their own Council Tax, in all likelihood recieve less than the average national annual salary and yet the good hard work they do, gets slagged off by people on here. I think if I were a shop trader in this town, i'd think a bit more about the customer service that gets portrayed on here . . . and if I worked for DBC I would pick and choose the shops and traders I did business with. Incidently, I parked in Commercial Street car park a couple of months ago (purchased a valid ticket) and visited Metcalfe's shop to buy some flowers for my partner's birthday. No exaggeration but they had wilted and died in 2 days. I can honestly say, I've bought longer lasting and cheaper flowers from Morrisons. Ohh and I've never had a parking fine either. Anon1961
  • Score: -2

10:07am Thu 24 Jul 14

jane1.r says...

Anon1961 wrote:
The town on a Saturday afternoon always seems busy to me. Granted, I probably do quite a bit of shopping online these days (like the majority of people i suspect).

The council bashing seems a bit silly to me also. DBC must be one of the biggest employers in the borough. Presumably, the majority all live in the town, all pay their own Council Tax, in all likelihood recieve less than the average national annual salary and yet the good hard work they do, gets slagged off by people on here. I think if I were a shop trader in this town, i'd think a bit more about the customer service that gets portrayed on here . . . and if I worked for DBC I would pick and choose the shops and traders I did business with.

Incidently, I parked in Commercial Street car park a couple of months ago (purchased a valid ticket) and visited Metcalfe's shop to buy some flowers for my partner's birthday. No exaggeration but they had wilted and died in 2 days. I can honestly say, I've bought longer lasting and cheaper flowers from Morrisons.


Ohh and I've never had a parking fine either.
The issue of parking is that the owner needs to park to pick up to deliver, not the customers being unable to park.

As to your criticism of their flowers, I can only disagree. Have never been disappointed by them and they last well.

Due to being ill I have had quite a few people send me bouquets from here and all of them have been beautiful, fragrant and long lasting.
[quote][p][bold]Anon1961[/bold] wrote: The town on a Saturday afternoon always seems busy to me. Granted, I probably do quite a bit of shopping online these days (like the majority of people i suspect). The council bashing seems a bit silly to me also. DBC must be one of the biggest employers in the borough. Presumably, the majority all live in the town, all pay their own Council Tax, in all likelihood recieve less than the average national annual salary and yet the good hard work they do, gets slagged off by people on here. I think if I were a shop trader in this town, i'd think a bit more about the customer service that gets portrayed on here . . . and if I worked for DBC I would pick and choose the shops and traders I did business with. Incidently, I parked in Commercial Street car park a couple of months ago (purchased a valid ticket) and visited Metcalfe's shop to buy some flowers for my partner's birthday. No exaggeration but they had wilted and died in 2 days. I can honestly say, I've bought longer lasting and cheaper flowers from Morrisons. Ohh and I've never had a parking fine either.[/p][/quote]The issue of parking is that the owner needs to park to pick up to deliver, not the customers being unable to park. As to your criticism of their flowers, I can only disagree. Have never been disappointed by them and they last well. Due to being ill I have had quite a few people send me bouquets from here and all of them have been beautiful, fragrant and long lasting. jane1.r
  • Score: 0

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