Public apology accepted by clerk for Long Sutton Parish Council after 'misunderstanding' about possible car parking charges in town
The clerk of Long Sutton Parish Council has received a public and formal apology over concerns about the introduction of car parking charges in the town.
In a statement on Tuesday, South Holland District Council admitted to a “misunderstanding” about a notice put up at West Street car park in December which actually related to the introduction of charging points for electrically-powered vehicles across South Holland.
The notice gave rise to concerns in Long Sutton that the introduction of parking charges was being considered at West Street.
As a result, the parish council held a public meeting in town on January 3 when two of Long Sutton’s district councillors, Laura Eldridge and Jack Tyrrell, tried to reassure residents that West Street car park would stay free of charge.
In its latest statement, a district council spokesman said: “On December 20, 2018, South Holland District Council issued a press statement regarding car parking in Long Sutton.
“The statement was issued in good faith as there appeared to be some misunderstanding of the effect of the proposals set out in the council’s public notice.
“That misunderstanding was incorrectly attributed to Long Sutton’s Parish Clerk and we would like to apologise for this error and for the fact that this was repeated both on social media and at a public meeting.”
The Spalding Guardian had a response to the statement from Ms Treacher that said: “I wish to thank South Holland District Council for making a public apology after the unfounded comments relating to me as Clerk to the Council.
“They were contained in a statement read out at a public meeting last month and then placed on social media by local ward members, relating to West Street car park.
“The district council’s apology is very much appreciated and I am pleased to be exonerated of blame.
"I hope that in future such statements are not posted on social media without any thought of the consequences that could occur to the person held up for blame."
Coun Dale Frith, chairman of Long Sutton Parish Council, said: “The public meeting was instigated by the parish council as a responsible body representing the community.
“We felt that we had to hold the meeting as people had shown concern about the possibility of parking charges being introduced at West Street car park.”
Chief amongst the concerns were the effect it could have on businesses in Long Sutton town centre and market traders on Fridays.
Speaking to the Guardian just days after the public meeting took place, Coun Frith said: “The parish council had been approached by several members of the public about the notice concerning car parks in South Holland.
“The main thrust of the notice was to do with electric charging points for electrically-powered cars being put in car parks across the areas.
“But the notice went on to mention that charging, either by cash or card, was being considered in the future for car parks in Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge.
“Residents were all supportive of the view that whilst we’re not opposed to electric charging points, we’re certainly opposed to parking charges at West Street car park for ordinary cars.
“It would kill off trade in the town centre, including Long Sutton’s Friday market.”
Richard King, a prospective candidate for Long Sutton in May’s district council elections, said: “I really hope the council will consider the businesses because it’s a fight for them to stay open and get the customers.
“Anything the council can be done to help the businesses in that regard would be most welcome.”