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March 25, 2009 12:13 PM

Roy Gregg writes:

The Leek East by-election has demonstrated emphatically that voters can make a difference. The Conservative administration in the Moorlands were on the point of implementing plans to bring in on-street car parking charges in all the main streets in the centre of Leek with charges of 50p for as little as half an hour. Liberal Democrats revealed these deeply-flawed proposals arguing that a very serious recession was a crazy time to be bringing in a scheme which was budgeted take as much as £187,000 from Leek parkers in a year. Our concerns were that shoppers, on whom our local economy depends, would move to rival towns causing serious damage to local businesses and that motorists seeking to avoid the charges would cause yet more congestion in streets just outside the charging zone. We campaigned very hard on this one crucial issue. Can I thank the hundreds of you in Leek East ward who signed our petition asking the Tory Council Leader to scrap their on-street parking charges scheme and also those who voted for me. On the day before polling day, fearful of losing the seat, the Tories announced that 'categorically under this administration there will be no on-street car parking charges, none whatsoever.' This is a pledge that we, as the largest opposition party on SMDC, will be holding them to and we greatly welcome this example of voter power in action!