LIB-DEM leader Denzil Coulson has revealed his frustration at Woking Borough Council’s decision to award parking concessions to church-goers on a Sunday.
Cllr Coulson believes free parking for all Woking residents in ‘tough economic times’ would have been a much fairer alternative. He also said that the council may have created a ‘rod for their own back’ should similar debates arise again.
He said: “I think the line needs to be clear and that policies should treat everyone fairly – it should be free parking for everyone or not at all.The line has not been consistent and if other groups were to come forward under the equalities act, there may be some problems further down the road
“The council have asked the Neighbourhood Advice Centre to make sure they meet the needs of the wider community and are accessible to everyone, yet they have different standards for the church parking concession.
“The line has not been consistent and if other groups were to come forward under the equalities act, there may be some problems further down the road.”
Free parking between 7am-1pm was a recommendation in the recent Equality Impact Assessment report which helped the council reach a decision over the controversial concession.
Cllr Coulson claims denying residents of ‘no-faith’ could limit commercial efficiency in the town centre.
“We strongly believe that Woking residents of all faiths or none are entitled to benefit from free parking.
“We felt that it would have been fairer to spend £156,000 to help all 96,000 residents on a Sunday rather than spending £40,560 for just 345 cars belonging to one particular faith group.
“This would have been a fairer approach and it would have helped stimulate economic activity on a Sunday.”