WHEN voucher parking was introduced independent traders tried to engage council members in a dialogue to voice concern about the likely effect it would have on trade. I was told by many I was wasting my time and energy because 'they wouldn't listen". How right they were! One member of the council admitted to me there was no one in the ruling party with knowledge gained from experience of running a business. Is it any wonder that they squander rate-payers' money on ill thought out schemes such as Africar, Mr Blobby, Bubbles naming those we know of.

The comment in the report into the Blobby affair by the council's chief executive that actions of the councillors were not 'wilful' I find extraordinary. That may be so but were they incompetent? In the commercial world, that is something that no business can tolerate otherwise it ceases to thrive. Someone would be told to clear their desk and leave immediately. Good management is essential for the success of any business and the city council is a business and we the rate payers are the equivalent of shareholders in that business. Therefore we should be listened to and our advice and opinions sought and given serious consideration - not being seen as 'them' going on again. It suspends belief that car parking charges have been raised when the town is in chaos because of the road works and with car park receipts 17 per cent down on last year, presumably because fewer people are using them. Shopkeepers lower prices when business is bad, they don't put them up! I cannot understand why the Heritage renovations in Sulyard St, Friar St and Bridget St were begun when it was known that the one-way system was going to be badly disrupted for three months, causing many more shoppers to defect from the town. One could question the overall effect of the amount of money spent on the Heritage works. Again, it would seem to me that some council officers' negotiating skills are not as good as we would wish them to be. The independent traders would like to know what action is planned to entice shoppers back into the town centre once the works are completed. We have to get the message to people and that will take money. We would like to suggest that a relaxation of parking charges for a limited period would be one positive and effective measure supported by an advertising campaign.

I am willing to co-ordinate any persons constructive suggestions on how we make Lancaster a better place for traders and residents alike. I will pass them on to our council leaders. You can send me a fax on 01524 736195 or write to me c/o Pizza Margherita, 2 Moor Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1QD.

Wendy Allen

Pizza Margherita


Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.