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Fears over car park campaign

PUBLISHED: 17:34 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 11 May 2010

FEARS have been raised that campaigners calling for an end to charging in a Caister car park are being “fobbed off” because the borough council says it can't consider a petition until new government guidelines have been introduced.

FEARS have been raised that campaigners calling for an end to charging in a Caister car park are being “fobbed off” because the borough council says it can't consider a petition until new government guidelines have been introduced.

Caister ward councillor Marie Field handed over the petition to Great Yarmouth Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration tourism, Graham Plant, on September 24.

It called for a lifting of the charges on Beach Road car park, following residents' claims that holidaymakers and day trippers are parking outside their homes, and blocking accesses rather than pay the charges.

However, on October 7, Mrs Field received an email from the council's member services manager Robin Hoods informing her the petition could not be considered.

It read: “With reference to your email, local authorities have not yet received confirmation from the Government with regard to the implementation of the Petitions regime and it does not seem likely that we will receive this until sometime in 2009.”

Insteadm Mr Hodds said Mr Plant was to arrange a private meeting with her and the relevant officers to discuss the petition.

But a flabbergasted Mrs Field said: “I think the council is trying to fob me off.”

The Labour councillor is being supported by her local party leader, Cllr Mick Castle, who could not understand why the council could not deal with the petition when it had been dealing with them for the last 100 years.

He said: “It seems to me that they are using sleight of hand to get around it. The council has been dealing with petitions for the last 100 years and it is a kind of sleight of hand to say it is not going to be heard in public or that they have to wait for government guidelines.”

Tim Howard, the borough's head of regeneration and environment, said the council was deciding the best way forward to deal with the 266-signature petition, which was why a private meeting had been called with Mrs Field.

He said the petition would not automatically be determined by cabinet, which would first need to receive a report detailing the likely consequences of removing charging from Beach Road car park before any decision could be taken.

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