Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, has today condemned Cllr Steve Goldswain, Redcar & Cleveland’s Cabinet Member for Community Protection, over his decision to “waste” £20,000 on market research about parking restrictions in Saltburn when it is “clear that Saltburn does not want or need changes to its parking”.
“It seems utterly ridiculous that Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council have not just scrapped these proposals when Saltburn is near-unanimously opposed to them, and even more bonkers that they propose wasting £20,000 to conduct ‘market research’ about them.”
According to Cllr Goldswain’s own briefing note, over 99% of respondents (2086 out of 2100) to Redcar & Cleveland’s initial consultation about parking restrictions in Saltburn are vehemently opposed to the Council’s proposals. To me, and to any other reasonable person, this implies that there is not currently a traffic management problem in Saltburn. As it is illegal for a Council to introduce parking charges to raise revenue, I do not understand why Cllr Goldswain has just not decided to stop proceeding with these proposals.
“I called upon Redcar & Cleveland to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment, but I fail to see now why one is needed when public opinion is so clear and when there is no apparent traffic management issue. Furthermore, I fail to see how it could cost anywhere near £20,000.
“It is absolutely clear that the people in this town do not want these proposals to progress. As such, the Council has no mandate to introduce parking restrictions, yet they are wasting £20,000 of taxpayers’ money in a disgraceful attempt to potentially justify the introduction of this scheme. Furthermore, it is damning and undemocratic that the Council has repeatedly failed to meet its legal duties under the Freedom of Information Act to provide information by statutory deadlines to those who requested information about these proposals. It is also disappointing that Cllr Goldswain did not consult local elected representatives nor his colleagues in the Labour Group about his decision to progress these proposals and waste £20,000. I am sure many of them would have pointed out the sheer absurdity of his actions.
“I have a duty to do what is right for my constituents, and the Council’s handling of these proposals is fundamentally wrong. The Council should quickly u-turn its decision to waste £20,000 in these tough times, and should withdraw their proposals to introduce parking restrictions.”