Charges sneaked through’

PUBLISHED: 09:06 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 11 May 2010

A BUNTINGFORD councillor believes a dangerous precedent may have been set after the town council was not consulted about the introduction of car parking charges. Last Wednesday East Herts District Council voted to abolish free parking in Buntingford, and

A BUNTINGFORD councillor believes a dangerous precedent may have been set after the town council was not consulted about the introduction of car parking charges.

Last Wednesday East Herts District Council voted to abolish free parking in Buntingford, and introduce 40 pence per hour charges in car parks such as the one in Bowling Green Lane.

Buntingford District Councillor Stan Bull said last week that he was "a bit disappointed" that the town council had not been informed of the proposals.

But Councillor Pat Whittaker said: "To say I am ­disappointed is an understatement. I am furious that no one in the town has been asked about this.

"These charges will have a big effect on the lives of people in Buntingford, but they have been sneaked through without any consultation whatsoever as far as I can see."

Cllr Whittaker is on the Buntingford Traffic Advisory group, which is made up of councillors, residents, and representatives of the chamber of commerce.

He said: "What is the point of having a traffic advisory group, and indeed a town council, if we have no chance to debate issues like this before they come into force. I am worried a dangerous precedent may have been set."

A spokesman for East Herts District Council said: "We have followed the appropriate statutory and democratic procedures throughout this process. We are not legally obliged to consult the town council over district council owned sites.

The spokesman added that they would be holding discussions with the town council regarding the enforcement of charges in car parks and for on-street parking.

Buntingford is one of the last towns in East Herts, along with Stanstead Abbots, to offer free parking in council-owned car parks.

The new charges are set to come into force in April this year.

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