A couple of weeks back we wrote to Cllr Richard Priest, asking him if he could give us a straight-forward answer to the central question that was being asked ‘Why did you break your pre-election promise not penalise motorists?’ (He’d already provided a long answer, that both OnTheWight and readers struggled to understand the relevance of).
Below is what he responded with the next day. We’d be interested to hear if you think it meets the criteria, or if you now have a better understanding of his reasoning – Ed
Thanks again for email and apologies for any misunderstanding (I had offered to discuss specific questions over the phone but appreciate you prefer a written reply).
As you will know, the leaflet was produced following the Public Hustings event at Shanklin Theatre (which the other candidates refused to attend) and meeting Shanklin residents.
Jon and I were specifically asked if we supported the possibility, which was allegedly being considered by the previous leadership, of outsourcing ‘parking’ to a private contractor.
Our view was that outsourcing this service would be bad for high streets and penalise motorists – not just in Shanklin, but across the Island. We believed that, where services were outsourced, it resulted in considerably higher charges and a more aggressive system of implementation.
In the absence of the sitting councillors, at the Public meeting, or clarification of their position on this question, Jon and I were very clear in that we did not support the outsourcing of this service because of the negative impact on High Streets and also communicated this in our leaflet
We were also asked what had we done for motorists in the past.
As you will know, and I am sure you have reported, Jon was very much a leader in the campaign against the unfair parking system at Staples/Maplins Car Park and supported motorists in their appeals against unfair penalties; and Jon was in contact with the management agent to change the practice at that site (I also helped support appeals but not as many as Jon took forward and won).
Jon was also very vocal in highlighting the practical parking issues facing coach drivers using the Old Village Car Park – and we can forward the correspondence if helpful – and how this impacted on local shops, as well as on the local economy.
In addition, Jon also organised a public meeting in Shanklin when the utility companies shut the High Street, again impacting on motorists and the local economy alike.
As you can appreciate, I have supported Jon’s actions in these areas, and, having been a Town Councillor for 20+ years, have also been involved in other campaigns including:
– Opposing parking metres in Regent Street
– Working to remove unnecessary parking restrictions and increase the availability of ‘on-road’ parking
– Opposing the proposed one-way system around Shanklin
– Opposing the sale of Osborne Road Car Park for development
– Opposing Landguard Road being made one-way
– Arguing that the proposed siting of a market in Regent Street on Sundays would be detrimental to shops and motorists (especially churchgoers) and use of the Spa Site would be more appropriate.
Hopefully, the above points which were raised at the Public Hustings (and at Town Council and Public Meetings over many years) reflect a commitment to Promote High Streets and not penalise motorists – and I am sorry that you were not at the meeting to hear Jon and I explain this, and answer questions directly.
Once the current public consultation is over (and again we would encourage all Islanders to contribute their views by June 6th), a paper will be produced with clear recommendations – Jon and I, as Town Councillors, will be attending Town Council meetings in Shanklin to discuss how these will impact on Shanklin, as well as discuss how any income from any potential changes will be reinvested in services; as well as, with Shanklin Town Council, organising a Public Meeting in the Autumn.
Best regards and thanks again for email