YOUR VIEW: Free parking in Mansfield is a non-starter

Can free parking be viable?
Can free parking be viable?

The free parking debate rolls on. Ben Bradley MP is insistent that his idea is feasible, duly demonstrating his finger is not quite on the pulse of local government finance in my view.

It would also be nice to have free brown bin collections, rent-free social housing and no council tax to pay, those goals are just as unachievable as free parking and rather annoyingly I feel Ben Bradley knows that.

The Chad (February 21) featured the mayor giving reasons, clear and to the point, why free parking in Mansfield is a non-starter, maybe it would be useful to reiterate. Income to Mansfield District Council (MDC) from car parking is around £1.5million per annum, to replenish that shortfall, should free parking be applied, would require additional funding from Ben Bradley’s own Conservative government.

Additional government funding is highly unlikely as it is still in the process of cutting MDC’s funding year on year.

Alternatively the funding would have to be covered by an increase in council tax for all in Mansfield and district of around 25 per cent.

An increase of that magnitude is a non-starter too. Car parks, free or otherwise, do not just appear, run themselves or last forever, take Walkden Street multi-storey car park for instance, built in the 1970s, already a great deal of work has been carried out to make the structure weatherproof and widen the parking bays etc. In addition add the future work, identified in the council’s budget papers, of £1.5m to repair the outside fabric and cladding. Free parking? Think again Mr Bradley?

Let’s cut to the quick, Ben Bradley and his assistant councillor are, in my view, electioneering in readiness for the May 2019 local elections. .

Electrification of the Midland Main Line is supported by all political parties and groups across Nottinghamshire but not by Ben Bradley. His government’s policy is HS2.

The Conservatives will be judged locally in May 2019 on two fronts, 1. Brexit — 70 per cent of Mansfield voters voted to leave the EU.
2. Delivery on issues he speaks about and can actually effect.

I sincerely hope progress will be made with the Robin Hood Line extension.

If achieved I feel it will be down to Mark Spencer, MP for Sherwood, not Ben Bradley MP for Mansfield.

Martin Wright

Leader, Mansfield 
Independent Forum

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