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February 26 2015.

Steve Saunders writes:

As expected, the Tories ignored the recommendations from the Police, Chamber of Commerce and the Newhaven businesses, to dismiss the idea of a Free Parking. My motion was put forward at the meeting of the Council yesterday afternoon and was supported by letters from the Neighbourhood Police Team, the Chamber of Commerce and a petition signed by every single business in the Town Centre.

Their belligerence and dismissal of ideas put forward after much debate among the groups with first-hand knowledge of the problems the Town Centre faces, reaffirms the view held by the majority of Newhaven residents, that the Conservative administration at LDC will do what THEY want and not what the people want.

They claim they have secured investment for the town and cite the work of officers in bringing the UTC to the town and take credit for the County Council and Fire Authority's library and community hub that are yet to be fully realised.

Extending the facilities at Denton Island that were put in place by the Lib Dems in the first place, was provided as an example too. No mention however, of the imposition of Special Expenses on the electorate of Newhaven, whilst continuing to grab every penny they can from car parking. Indeed the money raised from this additional stealth tax for Newhaven goes into the general fund and benefits all their own Tory controlled towns and villages too.

Businesses will continue to struggle and pedestrians will still have to run the gauntlet of illegal traffic and parking, just so the Tories don't have to concede to another good idea put forward by someone other than a conservative supporter. God forbid they would take account of common sense and the many voices of reason in Newhaven.

I would like to thank the Police, Chamber of Commerce and the businesses of the Town for their support, but can only feel as disappointed as they must be, that the Conservative administration did not listen to us. Something that has become all too familiar.

Cllr. Steve Saunders
Lib. Dem. District and Town (Newhaven Valley)

At the conclusion of the meeting, Councillor Rob Blackman said: ‘Everybody knows if you want a vibrant town centre you have to attract businesses to the town centre. The way you do that is to make the area so buzzing and thriving that they’re prepared to set up shop in your area.

Studies done in the past show there is no link between parking and the success of a town centre. Whatever you may think, its all a load of nonsense.

It would be nice for a change if the efforts made to regenerate your town centre were acknowledged rather than saying that LDC haven’t done anything when clearly we have. You can see the results, Denton Island will have more businesses, the UTC coming, the regenerated library, LDC offices coming together into the centre of the town to get people together, get the employees there to buy things from the shops in the town. We’re doing all that work and there’s more on the cards I can’t talk about today.

Let’s put it into context – it’s £54,000 for 2 hours parking that LDC would lose, which is used to make sure we can do other exciting stuff – where would that money come from if we lost it?’

The motion put forward by Councillor Saunders was voted against – 12 voted in favour, 16 voted against and 6 abstained, including Councillor Carla Butler and ex Newhaven Mayor, Robbie Robertson.