Blog News — 05 July 2012
Steve Bassam

Steve Bassam

The Green Party’s anti car philosophy is beginning to hurt the City and affect its reputation as the Place to Be. The Argus submitted a Freedom of Information request recently that showed that the estimated extra income from this years’ parking  charges increase was likely to fall nearly £1m short.

The Greens response – they blamed the weather. Whether you want to park on the seafront, or outside your home this year you are paying more to park your car. If you are a struggling business you are paying more to park, if you are a visitor you paying far more.

This would all make some sense if it was part of a recognisable transport strategy and there were alternatives, but there isn’t. Probably the worst impact is on seafront businesses. Go down almost anyday of the week and formerly well used Madeira Drive parking spaces are empty quite simply because people won’t pay £20 to park a car. When Labour was in power these spaces were cheap and well used. This helped seafront businesses and provided a means of people parking for the day and walking to their place of work.

We all want to see the right balance between private and public transport. But the Green Party has no such strategy. They say cycle or walk. But to do so is an unrealistic way to look at peoples complex lives. Moreover using public transport is getting more and more expensive in the City.

We have a brilliant bus service but it is expensive. The Green Party have no intention of subsidising the services using parking fees – a sensible green policy. They have no intention of making bus services more accessible. They oppose park and ride and have done nothing positive to put pressure on the rail companies to improve rail services locally.

A really green council would do what Labour did in the 90’s – develop a bus strategy with the bus companies. The benefits of this were obvious year on year. Better signage, real time bus info, bus lanes, bus preference and promotion. The Greens have not engaged with this. Being anti car is not enough, nor is putting in cycle lanes enough. They are elements of a strategy but they won’t deliver better air quality or a sustainable transport system.

We need some vision and energy and new thinking. So far as with much else the Greens are deeply disappointing. A party without ideas or action of with the ability to follow things through except the ability to take more money off local residents without improving services. Indeed with bus services they are making these worse especially in areas where lower income households live.

Steve Bassam
Former Leader City Council
@SteveTheQuip

 

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