FOR sure, there are arguments of principle to be made about levels of car-parking charges – for example, to deter journeys by private car and so reduce carbon footprints.

But here in Great Malvern town centre, right now, the case for fiddling about with the charges, and all to achieve a questionable extra £50,000 for the £8m district council budget, seems curious indeed.

First, the council’s official number one priority is declared to be ‘economic prosperity’.

Second, the council now has huge financial reserves at its disposal – well beyond those required for normal prudence (and largely as a result of cash windfalls from the Government).

Third, not a mile away, is the hardly fair competition of free parking on the Retail Park.

And fourth, the council agreed recently a more comprehensive strategy for car-parking that will address the related, and ongoing, problem of unenforced ‘on-street’ parking.

This strategy is likely to be implemented in little more than a year’s time. So is now the right time to be adjusting the pay-and-display machines in our Council car-parks – when the consequence is to alienate traders and their customers alike? I think not!

West Ward Malvern Hills District Council