Yarmouth parking chief could face investigation after complaints

DEPUTY council leader Charles Reynolds could face investigation after a number of official complaints over his efforts to axe permit parking.

Residents say Mr Reynolds has ignored the people he is supposed to represent and acted in a “bullheaded” manner in his bids to scrap the Zone A scheme, which restricts visitor parking outside homes in the seafront area.

Mr Reynolds said his plans have not been swayed by a consultation - which had 441 responses - in which 57.6pc of respondents said they wanted to keep the scheme.

And following complaints, a report into Mr Reynolds’ behaviour is to be prepared for the borough’s standards committee. They will decide whether to launch a full investigation or drop the matter.

Theresa Campbell, proprietor of the Weatherdene Guest House in St John’s Terrace, lodged an official complaint alleging he has breached the councillors code of conduct on eight counts.

And she says she will lose business if the permit scheme is scrapped.

“He’s got a vendetta against the car parking scheme, which seems very out of order,” she said.

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“I don’t see what he’s getting out of it as he doesn’t live in Yarmouth so doesn’t know what we will be stuck with because of his bullheadedness.

“We will be stuck with every Tom, Dick and Harry parking anywhere. If it doesn’t get sorted I will lose business, and if he ruins business he ruins the town.”

Mr Reynolds says most people are not concerned with the issue as the consultation had a low turnout, and he is determined to axe the scheme that will have cost the borough more than �340,000 by next month, since 2007.

Campaigners say calls for an investigation into Mr Reynolds’ behaviour may seem personal, but they are left with little choice.

Peter Fitzgerald, vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Residents Association, said: “This contempt has ignited some anger.

“The reason it’s appearing to be personal is this is a one man show as far as the position of the council is concerned.

“Where can you focus that discontent when there’s one anchor-point for that discontent and it happens to be the deputy leader?”

He added the association has not lodged a complaint, but has advised members on how to do so.

Mick Castle, Labour councillor for Central and Northgate ward, has lodged a complaint against Mr Reynolds.

He said: “What’s the point of having consultation if you’re going to go on regardless?

“It doesn’t fill people with confidence in their elected leaders.

“I’ve put it in black and white and I hope they will investigate”

But Mr Reynolds says he is not concerned about the complaints and any forthcoming investigation.

“I’ve got no worries at all,” he said.

“I’ve seen the questions on the complaints and they’re all easily answerable.

“It’s been a long, ongoing situation and it’s well documented.”

He added he is saddened that Mick Castle and Peter Fitzgerald have brought debate “down to a personal level.”

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “The council has received two complaints.

“A report will be taken to the Assessment Sub Committee of the Standards Committee – who will decide whether the matter warrants investigation or whether no action will be taken.”

The future of the permit scheme will be discussed at the council’s car parking strategy group meeting on Monday.

Mick Castle says he will not attend the meeting in protest at Charles Reynolds, and as he believes stakeholders should be able to suggest improvements to the scheme before the meeting.