Second parking vote lost as Rochford Tory resigns

Lost vote – from left, Toby Mountain, Ian Ward, Cheryl Roe, Dave Sperring, Mark Hale and Angela Hale

Lost vote – from left, Toby Mountain, Ian Ward, Cheryl Roe, Dave Sperring, Mark Hale and Angela Hale

First published in Echo News by

A TORY councillor has resigned the party whip after plans to introduce Saturday parking charges across the Rochford district were upheld despite mass protest from the public.

Toby Mountain, a Conservative councillor for Sweyne Park, on Rochford District Council, will see out the remaining 15 months of his term as an independent Conservative after claiming he had been subject to “unpleasantness, hypocrisy, threats and abuse” during the row over parking charges.

The controversial charges were voted in by the Tory-run council last month by 14 votes to seven, with 11 abstentions. But on Tuesday night nine Conservatives were among those who brought a motion to full council calling for further debate over the charges.

However, the motion was defeated by 19 votes to 14 and Saturday parking charges will be introduced on April 1, costing motorists £1 per hour.

Mr Mountain said: “It is important to remember that at every level, we are the servants and not masters of those who elect us, transparency is paramount.

“Since I pushed the suggestion that there should be a higher level of democratic accountability and more transparent discussion and debate within the decision-making process of the ruling administration, I have been on the receiving end of unpleasantness, hypocrisy, threats and abuse.

“This is not what I signed up for.”

Mr Mountain explained in Tuesday’s meeting how an idea to increase parking charges throughout the week, along with the idea of Saturday charges, was put forward at a council awayday in January.

Members agreed to further discussion on the suggestions, but no debate was held until the full council meeting on January 28.

He also accused council leader Terry Cutmore and councillor Mike Steptoe of misleading members by informing them the local chambers of trade were broadly in agreement of both a fee increase and the introduction of a Saturday charge, which they have since denied.

Mr Mountain said: “This extends beyond the issue of car parking charges. In my opinion, proper discussion around important issues and policies is not being undertaken in a manner which I feel is conducive to a transparent process. We are then encouraged to tow the party line, against the better judgement of some members.”

Mr Mountain will attend a meeting of the Conservative Association tomorrow, to explain his stance to Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois. Mr Mountain said he would continue to serve his constituents and Conservative ideals.

He said: “I am extremely proud to be serving as a district councillor in a debt-free council run under a Conservative administration.”

Mr Cutmore, who was the only member to speak in favour of the Saturday charge, said: “I appreciate the cost of running a car is expensive but parking is a minor part of it.

“We have to do it, nobody wants to, but we have to do it for our budget.”

Southend Standard:

Resigned the party whip - Toby Mountain

Fears businesses will suffer from new charges

COUNCILLORS and campaigners have reacted strongly to losing a vote on scrapping planned Saturday afternoon parking charges across the Rochford District.

A motion to overturn January’s Rochford District Council decision to introduce Saturday afternoon charges was heard at Tuesday’s full council meeting but a vote was lost by 19 to 14. Nine councillors signed the motion for further discussion, with the Conservative councillor for Lodge, Ian Ward, presenting figures showing up to 60 per cent of annual turnover for businesses on Rayleigh High Street can be generated on a Saturday afternoon.

Mr Ward said: “I am naturally disappointed, I felt we presented a strong argument.

“We now have to keep a realeye on the situation so businesses do not close because of this.”

Carl Watson, president of the Rayleigh Chamber of Trade, who wrote a letter to the council speaking against the Saturday charge, thought those speaking against the charges being imposed won the debate. He said: “I thought those in favour of the motion won the argument hands down.

“Good questions were asked of those voting against, but not answered – it was politics at its lowest ebb.

“The smaller businesses are struggling to keep customer numbers up and to survive.”

 

HOW THE COUNCILLORS VOTED: 

AGAINST THE MOTION: Lesley Butcher, Phil Capon, Mike Carter, James Cottis, Terry Cutmore, Heather Glynn, Trevor Goodwin, Keith Gordon, Jim Grey, Brian Hazlewood, Keith Hudson, Gillian Lucas-Gill, David Merrick, Joan Mockford, Colin Seagers, Simon Smith, Mike Steptoe, Carole Weston and Barbara Wilkins (all Tories)

FOR THE MOTION: Pat Aves (Tory), Chris Black (Lib Dem), Robin Dray (Tory), John Griffin (Tory), Angela Hale (Tory), Diane Hoy (Green), Michael Hoy (Green), Chris Lumley (Lib Dem), Christine Mason (Rochford Resident Party), John Mason (Rochford Resident Party), Toby Mountain (Independent Conservative), Cheryl Roe (Tory), Dave Sperring (Tory) and Ian Ward (Tory).

 

Click here for the Echo's live blog of the evening's council meeting: 

Rochford District Council meeting - live blog 

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:53am Fri 28 Feb 14

Jack222 says...

Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.
Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find. Jack222
  • Score: -5

12:56pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Ian P says...

Jack222 wrote:
Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.
The danger is that this may put off so many people coming to Rayleigh that the Council income could actually go down, especially if shops start to close, and the taxpayer may have to find even more money than they do today. Increasing the price of something does not guarantee an increased income, especially where the people putting their hands in their pockets have an alternative choice.
[quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.[/p][/quote]The danger is that this may put off so many people coming to Rayleigh that the Council income could actually go down, especially if shops start to close, and the taxpayer may have to find even more money than they do today. Increasing the price of something does not guarantee an increased income, especially where the people putting their hands in their pockets have an alternative choice. Ian P
  • Score: 4

12:57pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Ian P says...

The only reason many people shop in Rayleigh on a Saturday afternoon is because of the free parking. The councillors who voted for the charges ought to stand in the semi empty car parks shortly before the free period starts on a Saturday and watch how quickly the car parks fill up. They should also take note of which shops Rayleigh has to offer. For £1-00 per hour, or less, the customers currently taking advantage of the free parking in order to spend their money in Rayleigh shops can park in other, not so distant towns, with a far larger range of shops.
The only reason many people shop in Rayleigh on a Saturday afternoon is because of the free parking. The councillors who voted for the charges ought to stand in the semi empty car parks shortly before the free period starts on a Saturday and watch how quickly the car parks fill up. They should also take note of which shops Rayleigh has to offer. For £1-00 per hour, or less, the customers currently taking advantage of the free parking in order to spend their money in Rayleigh shops can park in other, not so distant towns, with a far larger range of shops. Ian P
  • Score: 6

3:15pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

Ian P wrote:
Jack222 wrote:
Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.
The danger is that this may put off so many people coming to Rayleigh that the Council income could actually go down, especially if shops start to close, and the taxpayer may have to find even more money than they do today. Increasing the price of something does not guarantee an increased income, especially where the people putting their hands in their pockets have an alternative choice.
I dont get that. Are people really going to go on a 50 mile round trip to Lakeside just because it s free parking.
Besides there really is no such thing as free parking, someone has to pay for the up keep of the car park etc, why not those who use it. Seems fair to me.
[quote][p][bold]Ian P[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.[/p][/quote]The danger is that this may put off so many people coming to Rayleigh that the Council income could actually go down, especially if shops start to close, and the taxpayer may have to find even more money than they do today. Increasing the price of something does not guarantee an increased income, especially where the people putting their hands in their pockets have an alternative choice.[/p][/quote]I dont get that. Are people really going to go on a 50 mile round trip to Lakeside just because it s free parking. Besides there really is no such thing as free parking, someone has to pay for the up keep of the car park etc, why not those who use it. Seems fair to me. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: -1

4:45pm Fri 28 Feb 14

rayleighrunner says...

If the other Tory Councillors are so against it, why don't they also resign the whip like Cllr Mountain? Because they are too scared that's why! These same 'disappointed' Tory Councillors are the same ones who abstained the first time round. Had they voted against it, they would have won and free parking would have remained. They are nothing but hypocrites. Not acting in the interests of those who elected them and only interested in keeping their cushy little allowances. They are nothing short of a disgrace. Lets also not forget Cllrs Roe, Ward, Sperring & Dray are also Town Councillors....as a Rayleigh resident I am equally as disappointed in them.
If the other Tory Councillors are so against it, why don't they also resign the whip like Cllr Mountain? Because they are too scared that's why! These same 'disappointed' Tory Councillors are the same ones who abstained the first time round. Had they voted against it, they would have won and free parking would have remained. They are nothing but hypocrites. Not acting in the interests of those who elected them and only interested in keeping their cushy little allowances. They are nothing short of a disgrace. Lets also not forget Cllrs Roe, Ward, Sperring & Dray are also Town Councillors....as a Rayleigh resident I am equally as disappointed in them. rayleighrunner
  • Score: 7

4:05pm Sun 2 Mar 14

woolstone says...

Don't mind paying if it means getting some of these pot holes repaired, how about it councillors.
Don't mind paying if it means getting some of these pot holes repaired, how about it councillors. woolstone
  • Score: 0

8:50am Mon 3 Mar 14

Ian P says...

Keptquiettillnow wrote:
Ian P wrote:
Jack222 wrote: Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.
The danger is that this may put off so many people coming to Rayleigh that the Council income could actually go down, especially if shops start to close, and the taxpayer may have to find even more money than they do today. Increasing the price of something does not guarantee an increased income, especially where the people putting their hands in their pockets have an alternative choice.
I dont get that. Are people really going to go on a 50 mile round trip to Lakeside just because it s free parking. Besides there really is no such thing as free parking, someone has to pay for the up keep of the car park etc, why not those who use it. Seems fair to me.
They can go to Basildon, pay a similar charge as Rayleigh is introducing but have a much larger choice of shops for the same parking charge. Just think about people living in Benfleet and Wickford. Similarish mileage to travel to Basildon or Rayleigh, but value for parking charges is a no brainer & Rayleigh is the loser.
[quote][p][bold]Keptquiettillnow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ian P[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: Everyone has parking charges ; so should they . Every penny earned is one less that council tax payers have to find.[/p][/quote]The danger is that this may put off so many people coming to Rayleigh that the Council income could actually go down, especially if shops start to close, and the taxpayer may have to find even more money than they do today. Increasing the price of something does not guarantee an increased income, especially where the people putting their hands in their pockets have an alternative choice.[/p][/quote]I dont get that. Are people really going to go on a 50 mile round trip to Lakeside just because it s free parking. Besides there really is no such thing as free parking, someone has to pay for the up keep of the car park etc, why not those who use it. Seems fair to me.[/p][/quote]They can go to Basildon, pay a similar charge as Rayleigh is introducing but have a much larger choice of shops for the same parking charge. Just think about people living in Benfleet and Wickford. Similarish mileage to travel to Basildon or Rayleigh, but value for parking charges is a no brainer & Rayleigh is the loser. Ian P
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree