In an unreported debate at the last full council, the Independent Party's latest way of helping hard pressed residents was to increase car parking charges for the town's commuters.
Southend Council has recently increased the parking facility behind Leigh Station and undertaken some environmental improvements and has imposed a charge for all day parking of £1.00 per day to offset these costs.
Prior to these improvements there was no charge, however, cars parked all over the place and along the narrow road making it dangerous for pedestrians and access was difficult.
There is a large station car park operated by a national chain but the charges there are so high that many commuters cannot afford to park in that car park.
The idea that all commuters have vastly well paid City jobs is ridiculous, many do not even go as far as London and I would not want to deter them from using the train or working.
Given the increasingly high cost of train travel before 9.30 adding another £25 a week to local residents costs simply does not encourage train travel or working up the line in low to medium paid work.
I do not approve of squeezing the motorist and tax payer for every last penny, they pay their road taxes, their national taxes and their council tax, why should they be ‘taxed’ yet again for parking to get to work?
Yes we are in difficult economic times and yes all councils including Southend are having to look very closely at budgets, but before we start adding to the cost of getting work let’s at least consider what happens when that cost gets too high resulting in the commuter either moving away or giving up work- as that cost could be far greater to economic prosperity of Southend.