Cheltenham Liberal Democrats have accused the town’s Tory MP of dishonesty and hypocrisy over the content of his current parking petition.
Alex Chalk is calling on the Lib Dem-run borough council to allow free off-street parking after 6pm, but he remains silent on the Tory county council’s on-street parking charges which are in force until 10pm.
The petition comes after outcry from Cheltenham residents and businesses following the introduction of on street parking charges across the town centre by the Shire Hall Tory administration.
The latest parking zone was introduced in the area around Cheltenham Spa station and was opposed by local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce on the grounds it would harm the local economy.
Cllr Andrew McKinlay (LD, Up Hatherley), cabinet member for Development and Safety at the Borough Council, said:
“This petition beggars belief. It is total hypocrisy for Mr Chalk to demand that the Borough Council stop charging for parking after 6pm, while at the same time he makes no comment about the Conservative County Council introducing on-street parking charges across the town centre which extend later into the evening than charging in the Borough car parks currently do.
“Mr Chalk also chooses to ignore the fact that there has been a recent review of the Borough Council parking strategy undertaken by independent consultants that received the support of a cross party working group including Conservative councillors.
“Mr Chalk’s actions are nothing more than a shoddy attempt to deflect the blame for the current town centre parking shambles caused by his own party’s cynical attempt to use Cheltenham as a cash cow to prop up their finances at Shire Hall.
“This is simply dishonest, and I am confident that Cheltenham residents will not be taken in by it.”