Parking charges in Steyning are unjust

I was pleased to see that Steyning Parish Council (SPC) took a principled stance against Horsham District Council’s (HDC) plan to impose parking charges in rural towns, including Steyning, from April 1st 2017.

After a debate at the Full Council Meeting on Monday, December 12, a proposal by Cllr Gill Muncey seconded by Cllr Nick Muggridge was approved whereby a meeting will be arranged with HDC to discuss a way forward to prevent the imposition of parking charges.

Central government are applying pressure on district councils to make savings and they in turn will be passing them on to small rural parish councils.

Horsham should be telling the government they are not prepared to impose the government’s politically motivated austerity programme.

The government has been elected to provide services through general taxation and should not be expecting local councils to carry out its policies.

More and more discretionary services are under threat, such as street cleaning, refuse collection, park maintenance, children’s play areas, social care, etc. The government has decided to permit local taxation to rise by six per cent to provide social care – yet another example of their sleight of hand to avoid their responsibility.

The British public can always be relied upon to help with charities, refugees, disaster funds, Children in Need, etc.

Surveys show how willing the public are to pay for extra NHS funding, yet the government continues to abuse the public’s goodwill, instead of making the fiscal changes to introduce a fairer taxation system to meet the increasing social needs of an increasingly unfair society. Fat Cats come to mind. Parish and district councils cannot continue to pick up these shortfalls. Too many rural communities will be destroyed by these shortsighted policies.

The introduction of parking charges will be yet one other step towards the end of the rural High Street.

Remember there IS such a thing as society, although one famous politician thought otherwise. Hundreds of Steyning residents have already signed their opposition pledge to car parking charges.

If you haven’t yet done so pick up the form at Sussex Produce or Steyning Post Office. We must support the parish councillors who have said enough is enough. Now it is up to HDC to make their views known to Central Government, reverse their decision, listen to local residents and stop the rot. These impositions are unjust and unfair.

Mike Kelly

Kings Stone Avenue

Steyning

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