Support our High Streets and give residents a fairer deal.

As Leader of the Local Independents group, I am well aware of the difficulties facing the Conservative administration regarding the council’s Revenue Budget but consider it common sense to encourage residents to use their local high streets.

There are the obvious issues regarding car use and climate change but the last 2 years have impacted the retail and hospitality industry in our borough and residents are saying they are travelling further and visiting ‘out of borough centres’ because, in part, the high parking charges. Windsor residents are currently asked to pay higher parking charges because their local high street is a tourist town whereas Maidenhead residents are putting up with an enormous amount of disruption due to regeneration.

If our High Streets are to survive and become vibrant, we must ensure that residents are able to collect goods, visit our High Streets (despite mobility issues) and families can access our local facilities.

I asked officers to model a number of alternatives for Resident Discount Parking. From modelling it appears that to allow 1hr free (irrespective of how many hours purchased) in ALL car parks would reduce annual revenue by approximately £400k however in a reduced number of selected car parks it is estimated to be £150k.

We are generally seeing a move to ‘mobile app/ phone call’ based parking fee processes and it would be expected that this is how the discount could be provided.

As Shadow Lead for Finance, I will not be able to see the base figures for the budget until the Draft budget is published. There has been no approach by the Conservative Administration to have a conversation regarding flexibility in the budget once all our statutory responsibilities have been met. Therefore, I am completely in the dark as to whether this is viable or not.

The Local Independents group urge the Conservative administration to do all they can to implement Residents Discount Parking within the Budget for 2022/23 to give residents a fairer deal and to support our High Streets.

Cllr Lynne Jones

On behalf of the Local Independents