At the start of the week my Lib Dem colleagues Cllr Ricky Duveen, Cllr Peter Beard and Cllr Chris Harris scored a win for the residents and traders of Tilehurst. They suceeded in getting Labour-run Reading Borough Council to drop plans to charge residents to park in Dunstall Close and Recreation Road car parks.
These plans were flawed and ill-thought out - Ricky gives the background to the plan over on his blog. Lib Dem councillors rightly protested to the Council over the lack of public consultation with residents or councillors.
Tilehurst Village is a popular and thriving local shopping area - the Council should be doing everything it can to encourage local people to do their shopping there. Things are hard enough as it for shoppers and traders in this recession.
These proposls were part of Labour's plans for a 25% hike in car parking charges across the Borough.
I'm a supporter of the Federation of Small Business' 'Keep Trade Local Campaign. A key part of their 'Keep Trade Local Manifesto' is fairer parking charges in town centres and high streets to help support local traders.
I have been invited by the Thames Valley Federation for Small Businesses to take part in a hustings ahead of the General Election, which I'm looking forward to.
As a result of the action taken by local Lib Dem councillors in Tilehurst Labour councillors have been forced to go back to the drawing board to come up with more sensible proposals. These are likely to include free parking for the first hour and charging thereafter (to deter commuter parking).
I was out in Tilehurst yesterday with Pete Beard and Ricky Duveen. They told me about their battle to get the Council to improve the quality of Tilehurst car parks in recent years - including improving facilities for disabled drivers and getting car parks resurfaced.