Take away our free parking permits, say two Kettering councillors

Cllr Clark Mitchell is proposing councillors rights to free parking are scrapped
Cllr Clark Mitchell is proposing councillors rights to free parking are scrapped

Two Kettering councillors are proposing a motion which would see all members lose their right to free parking in the town.

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.

But Cllr Clark Mitchell (Lab, Avondale) is proposing councillors’ rights to free parking are scrapped – and that they should be forced to pay just like anyone else – in a bid to highlight the comparatively high rates of parking in the town.

He 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.”

The permits councillors receive can only be used in Kettering Council-owned car parks while on work duties from Monday to Friday.

But Cllr Mitchell says they receive an allowance to pay for such expenses and that it changes councillors’ perspectives on parking charges.

He added: “I appreciate that what we’re trying to do in the first instance is small but we’re showing some sympathy with the shoppers and workers.

“If councillors actually had to pay then they might realise how expensive it is.

“None of us can’t afford to pay it, we’re only there for a maximum of two or three hours and we get allowances for these things.

“I know I’ve got the support of the Labour group and I hope it goes through - it’s not fair that we get it for free.”

The motion is being seconded by Cllr Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, William Knibb).

He said: “We’re trying to show some sympathy with people because it’s ridiculous that councillors get it for free.

“I only live round the corner so very rarely use mine but hopefully we’ll get some support and get a debate going.

“We get allowances so we should be able to chuck in a few quid.”