Despite what they want you to think, the Liberal Democrats voted FOR the parking charges.
Extra parking charges that were supported by the Liberal Democrats only last year will soon be coming into effect across the Upper Valley. The car parks affected by these new charges include the Burnley Road Car Park in Mytholmroyd, and three car parks in Todmorden. These extra charges were approved as part of the council budget when the Liberal Democrats were in joint control of the council with the Labour party only six months ago. After the devastating flooding of last year, the council should be doing everything within its power to support local businesses and to protect our local economy. They have a duty to promote our high street and to encourage people to shop locally. These extra charges will make it harder to attract shoppers to our wonderful town centres and will hurt local businesses at a time when they need extra support. This is why Conservatives, including myself, have consistently opposed the parking charges for well over a year. When they were part of the administration running the council, the Liberal Democrats were quite happy to inflict parking charges on the residents of Mytholmroyd and Todmorden. However, now that they have lost the trappings of power, they want to disown their own policy and join the bandwagon of opposition. Last Thursday evening, at a council scrutiny meeting, a Liberal Democrat Councillor, James Baker, cynically proposed a motion to suspend the parking charges due to be implemented in Mytholmroyd. This was the same councillor who only last year voted FOR the parking charges at an identical scrutiny meeting, knowing full well that the traders needed all the support they could get after the devastating flooding. On that occasion last August, the Conservatives called a special meeting in an attempt to stop the proposed parking charges but the vote was lost 3-4 - if this Mytholmroyd Liberal Democrat councillor had voted with the Conservatives the parking charges would have been stopped in their tracks. A year later, it would appear that counBaker has changed his mind. However, upon further inspection, we can see that this is not the case, for he wants to make a special exception in the case of Mytholmroyd (his own ward of course!) but is happy for the residents and businesses in Todmorden and elsewhere to be burdened by these extra charges. How can you make an exception for one community whilst watching the rest of Calderdale suffer? As much as wants to run away from his voting record, the fact is that he could have stopped the charges last year when he had the chance, but voted to support them and burden residents and traders with extra charges. His attempt to jump on the bandwagon of opposition at this late stage is the cynical politics of the worst kind.