A Hedge End town councillor has warned car drivers to stay away from Eastleigh town centre or pay the price.
Speaking at a public meeting organised by Southampton and Eastleigh Friends of the Earth, Eastleigh’s cabinet Minister for Environment Louise Bloom claimed that parking controls were part of the councils strategy to reduce local carbon emissions and said she would ‘not apologise’ for parking charges.
‘If you bring a car to Eastleigh than you have to pay to park’ she insisted.
The meeting had been called by the environmental pressure group as part of a campaign to urge councils to “get serious about CO2” in order to “cut emissions to create new green jobs and boost the local economy” but Cllr Blooms remarks are bound to dismay struggling local businesses and lead to accusations that the council is ‘Anti Car’.
Last month the council revealed plans to build a hotel which can only be used by guests who arrive on foot or public transport.
In addition there have recent rises in car parking charges while families in the working class area of central Eastleigh can have to pay up to £235 to park outside their homes (depending on the amount of cars owned) while middle class families in wealthy suburbs like Grange Park pay nothing for the same privilege no matter how many cars they own.
About 100 people attended the meeting at Eastleigh Masonic Centre on Friday.
The other speakers were Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne who is the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change and Andy Atkins, the executive director of Friends of the Earth.
Full report to follow
Photo:© Matthew Myatt