The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,
Declares that the removal of the two hours free car parking in Darlington Town Centre will have a detrimental effect on the local community and on the local economy; further declares that it must be reinstated by Darlington Borough Council.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to encourage Darlington Borough Council to U-turn immediately on their decision to re-introduce these car parking charges in Darlington town centre.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Peter Gibson, Official Report, 20 July 2023; Vol. 736, c. 1123.]
Observations from The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Richard Holden):
I am disappointed that Darlington Borough Council has taken this stance. Unfortunately, the setting of charges for parking in local authority car parks or in on-street parking bays is entirely a matter for the local authority in accordance with powers available to it in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. It is for each individual authority to decide what to charge for parking. We would encourage residents to engage directly with Darlington Borough Council on this proposal. Moreover, information on residents' rights to challenge local authority parking policies can be found at the following link: www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-challenge-parking-policies
While local authorities are free to make their own decisions about streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation, they are, of course, accountable to the electorate for their decisions and their performance.