Review of the year - Row
AN increase in car parking charges in Royston led to protests from the public. The rise was imposed by North Herts District Council in a bid to balance its books. But even Royston councillors were opposed to move and attempted to persuade the district to
AN increase in car parking charges in Royston led to protests from the public.
The rise was imposed by North Herts District Council in a bid to balance its books.
But even Royston councillors were opposed to move and attempted to persuade the district to re-think its position on the issue.
Indeed, Cllr Fiona Hill, chairman of the Royston area committee, said she was "appalled" by the decision to continue with plans for the increase after members had been left with the impression that the whole matter would be re-considered.
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And Cllr Tony Hunter warned that traders in the town centre had seen a drop in takings due to car parking charges.
He said the parking charges rise would see the town centre "diminish to where it will be non-existent".
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Town centre manager Geraint Burnell said: "There is real pain in retailing in Royston and not to be over-dramatic, retailers will be closing."
Cllr Richard Thake, the council's Cabinet transport portfolio holder, said: "There is no proven link between the loss of trading and parking charges.
"It is not the case and members from Royston are labouring under a misapprehension."
The rise was to support a council budget which called for an increase of £62,000 in car parking charges income.