Bid to change district council constitution to stop parking price hikes
PUBLISHED: 16:07 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:09 10 October 2019
A bid has been made to halt proposed parking tariff hikes by changing East Devon District Council’s constitution.
Councillor Paul Millar has tabled a motion for the next full council meeting, calling for car park strategy to be added to the list of 12 areas of policy the full council has the final say over - taking decisions out of the cabinet's hands.
The cabinet, made up of nine councillors from the ruling Independent Group, has agreed to put parking charge changes out to a public consultation.
The proposals include raising the hourly rate in some East Devon car parks from £1 to £1.20 and introducing pay-and-display to previously free car parks.
According to the council's constitution, cabinet can make decisions on parking changes without consulting full council.
Cllr Millar's motion, which has been ratified by the chief executive, would force cabinet to make a recommendation to full council instead.
In an email seen by this title, Cllr Millar writes: "I believe this amendment is a vital safeguard to ensure the leader does not rush ahead with a consultation on a policy the vast majority of members do not support.
"It would be a waste exercise, and a waste of taxpayers' money.
"I believe we must ensure that democracy is served."
In response, East Devon leader Ben Ingham said: "With most notice of motions, unless I have put them forward or supported submission, I like to hear the debate in full before deciding.
"In the past, I have found keeping a motion simple is best.
"We shall see."
Following the cabinet's decision to launch a consultation, the proposals were called in by EDDC's scrutiny committee which decided to set up a forum to consider car parking tariffs in East Devon.
Cllr Millar, an Independent councillor who is no longer part of the ruling Independent Group, is concerned that cabinet will press ahead with the consultation before the parking forum reports back with its findings.
The motion to change the constitution, set to be discussed at the full council meeting on Wednesday, October 23, has received cross party support having been seconded by Liberal Democrat Eileen Wragg.
Two other Lid Dem councillors and one Conservative have backed the motion.
Eight of the Independent East Devon Alliance councillors, including leader Paul Arnott, are listed as supporters.