Council rubber-stamp parking charges for councillors and stops ward member budgets

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Plans to introduce car parking charges for councillors at Hartlepool Civic Centre have been given the go-ahead.

Councillors at the finance and policy committee approved the charges, along with removing ward member budgets as part of a review of civic expenditure by Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs.

There are 23 councillors registered to park in the underground car park at the Civic Centre - with 12 bays allocated for members and no charge in place.

Councillors unanimously agreed to implement an annual charge of £116 for each of the 23 registered members to cover the estimated £2,664 car parking income for the bays.

A full meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council has now unanimously rubber-stamped both proposals.

Coun John Tennant, leader of the Independent Union party, said he was pleased to see the savings come in.

He said: “I’m very pleased to see that finally we’re going to be scrapping ward member budgets for 2020/21.

“It’s been an argument that’s been made by many opposition councillors for many years and it’s good to see that’s coming in to being.

“I am also pleased that it’s been taken into account commitments certain councillors have made for 2019/20 and I think that’s a fair compromise there.

“I’m very pleased to see particularly about the introduction of car parking charges for councillors.”

Ward member budgets will be ended from 2020/21, allowing members to honour commitments for 2019/20.

The budgets are used by councillors in order to fund a variety of works in their area, such as organising bulky household waste collection to residents for free, and other community projects.

Councillors also moved a further report to come back to council to determine how the £66,000 a year savings, which is what is allocated for ward member budgets annually, will be spent in the borough.

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher previously stated the savings were proposed as the council continues to have to make savings following government funding cuts.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service