Lib Dems branded a "waste of space" after council say no to reinstating 200 hour visitor parking in South Sutton and Belmont
12:40pm Tuesday 15th January 2013 in News
Neighbours calling for the reinstatement of a pledge to give them 200 hours of visitor parking each year branded Liberal Democrats an "obsolete party" after their pleas were rejected.
People living in the Sutton South and Belmont controlled parking zones (CPZs) used to get 200 hours of free parking for visitors until this was scaled back to 100 hours in 2007 and then 50 hours in 2009 to save Sutton Council money.
Angry members of the Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee decided to use the group's allowance to spend just under £8,000 on reinstating the 200 hour scheme at a meeting in July.
But rules meant the decision had to be referred to councillors as the group does not have the power to go against council policy. Councillors had the chance to give the decision the go-ahead at a meeting on Monday night but Liberal Democrats voted down the proposal on the grounds it would cost too much.
The ruling sparked anger from the public gallery with one man shouting: "You're a waste of space, all of you. You're an obsolete party after this".
Conservatives, led by Councillor Tony Shields, said the plan would only cost under £8,000 - around £2 per house - but Liberal Democrats claimed the Tories got their calculations wrong and the cost would actually be £100,000.
Coun Jill Whitehead said: "Sutton already has 50 hours of free parking, which is the most generous in the entirety of London. We do not believe that we should impose further financial burdens on the taxpayer when we have already made £30m savings over the last 3 years and are being asked to make more in the near future."
Coun Shields said the ruling is part of an anti-driver campaign from the council saying punishing the motorist "is like Viagra for Lib Dems".
He added: "Let's remember we are elected to serve the residents not punish them. I have a letter from a resident assured by a Lib Dem councillor that the 200 hours was safe forever - but forever means up until the next election for Lib Dems."