A bid to see all Kettering councillors lose their right to free parking in the borough was voted down last night (Wednesday) after being branded as ‘absurd’ by its opposition.
Kettering is the most expensive borough in the north of the county when it comes to parking in council-owned car parks, with more than three hours parking costing £6.
Labour councillor Clark Mitchell (Avondale) had proposed that parking passes for councillors should be suspended because free parking meant they didn’t realise the true cost.
But the bid was defeated after strong opposition from the council’s Conservative members, with Cllr David Howes (Welland) calling the bid absurd.
He said: “The very idea that I have got to pay for car parking to understand the cost is absurd.
“We have to pay when we come here to shop.
“I do not think that it’s a good idea that we have to find a few pennies just to do our job.”
A Freedom of Information request by the Northants Telegraph earlier this year revealed that Kettering Council had handed out 446 permits to councillors and staff.
The permits councillors receive can only be used in Kettering Council-owned car parks while on work duties from Monday to Friday.
Cllr Mitchell said: “To me paying £6 for three hours parking in Kettering is absolutely extortionate.
“If you go to Northampton the first two hours are free and in Wellingborough it’s free everywhere.
“In our alternative manifesto we pledged to reduce parking to 50p on Saturdays but that was voted down.
“It’s hitting retail in the town because if you want to pop in and buy something for £1 it’s not just £1, there’s parking charges as well.”
Despite the support of the Labour group, Cllr Mitchell’s bid was defeated with seven votes for, 23 against, and two abstentions.
Two of those to speak against the motion were Slade’s Conservative members Cllr Jim Hakewill and Cllr Cliff Moreton.
Cllr Hakewill said: “There is no benefit from having car parking passes, we would have to put our money in and claim it back on expenses.
“If we had to get money out to get a ticket it is not efficient.”
Cllr Moreton added: “I am amused that most people think this is a benefit.
“I do not have the luxury of walking in and have to drive.
“There is no benefit of a car parking pass to do my duties.”