SCRAPPING the over-65 parking permit could force volunteers to give up much-needed support say councillors.
Stratford Liberal Democrat councillors Kate Rolfe and Jenny Fradgley are urging the district council to consider retirees who volunteer as moves to either scrap the £10 concessionary parking permit or hike up the price to £150 are discussed.
Initial proposals to scrap the permit in 2019 were dropped after an outcry from residents. Instead, the council proposed to hike up the price to £25. But, after further consideration earlier this year, and due to the economic impact of the pandemic, the authority posed two options to the public – to raise the cost to £150, or to scrap the permit altogether. The results of the consultation – now closed – are expected in June.
The move would coincide with an increase in district car park tariffs across Stratford including the formerly free Fisherman’s car park off Warwick Road.
And Coun Rolfe says the consultation has raised concerns among volunteers for who both solutions could see them struggling to afford to continue their roles in the town centre.
She has proposed a motion, seconded by Coun Fradgely, that Tory leaders consider a pass system for volunteers.
The Tiddington ward councillor said: “There are many organisations in Stratford who rely upon volunteers to operate and the importance of the voluntary sector has been highlighted even more so by the pandemic. Many of these volunteers are retired and they have time to be able to offer their services.
“While we are unhappy with the consultation proposals and would prefer the existing scheme to continue at a reasonable cost, we believe that whatever the recommendation by the cabinet on these passes, special consideration should be given to those people who carry out voluntary roles within the town.
“Council therefore requests that, in reviewing the over 65s parking permit, special consideration be given to those who are over 65 and are genuine volunteers with bona fide organisations and that a pass system should continue for those qualifying at either the existing rate or a rate close to it.”
The motion will be proposed at a full council meeting on Monday (April 16), after which it will be put to cabinet.