10:52AM, Monday 24 February 2020
Councillors are pushing for ‘alternative proposals’ to controversial plans to scrap Advantage Card parking discounts.
Getting rid of the benefit, which saves residents money in borough-run car parks, is one of a number of cuts proposed as part of the council’s 2020/21 budget – but the proposal has faced a huge backlash on social media.
Opposition councillor Helen Taylor (TBF, Oldfield) told the Express last week that she and Cllr Lynne Jones (OWRA, Old Windsor) are working with the cabinet member for parking, Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), to come up with an ‘alternative proposal’.
Cllr Taylor said: “This has come up and it’s on the cards to be a saving, so what we’re trying to do is miti-gate it in some way.
“We realise this has got to happen. However we want to do something to give residents a benefit; it’s just a question of how we do that.”
Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Sunninghill), lead member for finance, said that some elements of the budget could be subject to change.
He said: “It’s a moving feast. We are looking at ways we might be able to change this.
“I am sure something will be said on Tuesday (February 25, at the full council meeting), maybe not delivered on, but definitely discussed.
“People are quite upset about it and one of the things we do is listen. There is more work to do.”
Cllr Cannon did not respond to a request for comment at the time of going to press.
To view the petition go to petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/Parking-subsidy/
Earlier this month, the Express reported on a petition set up by Jacob Cotterill, vice-chairman of the Maidenhead Constituency Labour Party, in a bid to save the discount.
It has now been signed by more than 7,000 disgruntled residents.
Mr Cotterill said he understands councils are increasingly having to tighten their belts but added: “It’s one of the things that the local authority has in place which actually does make a difference to people’s day to day.
“It’s just an accounting measure basically to try and save some money and that is unacceptable.”
The ’Tiser used its social media platforms to get residents’ thoughts on axing the Advantage Card parking discount.
On Instagram jillhuskissonfitness said ‘this feels like a quick money grab solution and little thought to the town or locals’.
Also on Instagram, maidenheadmumsclub suggested whether the ‘discount be applied if you purchase something in town’.
On Facebook, Melanie Hill said: “Maidenhead will become a dead town and Windsor will only survive on tourists.
“They’d better listen to residents this time.”
Mark Murphy warned: “Every small business that Maidenhead so desperately needs will suffer from this.”
Sarah Pounde said: “We’re encouraged to shop local but this is pushing more and more of us to go online and buy what we need.”
Nikki Oliver said she will ‘be heading to Sainsbury’s in Taplow’ and that the ‘Advantage cards discount is the only thing bringing locals in’.
On Twitter @PriimaDonnaVI said: “I will probably stop shopping in Maidenhead altogether – cheaper parking for residents is its only ‘advantage’.”
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