BUSINESS owners and residents are celebrating after a council performed a dramatic u-turn on its controversial plan to impose parking charges in a seaside town.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council was inundated with more than 2,000 objections to its proposals when the authority carried out a pre-consultation exercise in the town.
The council infuriated residents when it announced earlier this month that it was planning on spending £20,000 on independent consultation despite overwhelming protests.
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Today (Tuesday, February 26) the council formally announced its decision to scrap the scheme during a cabinet meeting and the news was welcomed throughout the town.
Ian Crockett, of The Cave, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. In my heart of hearts I didn’t really think that they would go through with it and I’m really relieved that they have decided to change their minds.”
Fiona Carter, who works in Grasers (correct) fruit and vegetable shop, added: “I don’t think I spoke to anyone who was in favour of the proposals and I think it was the strength of feeling in the town that was the most impressive thing – the entire community rallied together.”
Lorna Jackson, of Real Meals and organiser of the town’s farmers' market, said: “After this u-turn we are all really looking forward to what hopefully will be a very busy summer season for all of the businesses in the town.”
The weight of community opposition to the plan was one of the reasons cited by the authority for dropping the plans.
Bev Kennedy, of DV Townend, said: “It is really important that the council has listened to the community because there has never been a problem with parking in the town and locals and businesspeople have being telling them that from the outset.”
Making the announcement at this morning’s cabinet meeting, Coun Steve Goldswain said the decision had been made after listening to residents’ concerns.
He said: “There was a lot of concern raised about the effect of the new Asda store in Skelton has on the town, so I have decided to drop the plans for Saltburn parking until we see what, if any, impact it has.”
East Cleveland Independent Councillor Steve Kay welcomed the decision. He said: “I think the cabinet should be congratulated, you have admitted you were wrong and I think Coun Goldswain has shown moral courage recognising he has made a mistake.”
However, deputy leader of the council, Sheelagh Clarke said the abuse the councillor had received from some Saltburn residents was unacceptable.
She said: “The really nasty vitriol that has come his way was an absolute disgrace. I hope this will be a lesson to the rest of the borough that we will not be bullied into decisions by residents.”
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