Wednesday, 12 December 2012


The fractious dispute over free parking continues in Newport between representatives of the Labour Party in Newport who want to abolish free parking and campaigners who want to retain it (because it brings people into the city) is ongoing. At present there is a parking scheme which allows up to two hours free parking. Newport City Council faces a funding shortfall next year of around £ 8 million pounds, so cutting the free parking scheme which comes in at around £ 1 million pounds looks like an easy win (to those looking to make savings / cuts).

In reality the timing in the run up to Christmas and the post Christmas sales, with half the high street and the back of the market dug up or closed off has not gone down well at all with traders or shoppers in Newport.  The South Wales Argus has clearly touched a raw nerve within the Labour Party in Newport.  A petition, which urges the council to reverse their decision to scrap free parking for the first two hours in council owned car parks has attracted over 3,700 signatures from traders and shoppers across the city and continues to grow.

Now some of the fresh intake of Labour Councillors who have become frustrated with the Cabinet’s behaviour and the lack of communication over the parking issue are talking about absenting themselves from the vote on free parking. Some of them are according to the South Wales Argus even talking up the possibility of even voting against their own party on the issue (I personally won’t hold my breath).

The party formerly known as new Labour in Newport has a history of never being big on communication, either with the electorate or its own membership. The fact that the ruling Labour council’s cabinet did not consult traders or shoppers about axing free parking within the city will come as no surprise to those of us who know how the Labour Party behaves in power or opposition.

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