Welwyn Garden City parking victory shortlived

PLANS to introduce charges at a car park were overturned by councillors – or so they thought.

Their victory was short-lived as they were soon told it was not their decision to make.

Welwyn Hatfield Council officers want to spend �60,000 on machines to issue pay and display tickets at King George V playing fields car park, off Beehive Lane in WGC.

But with nearly 80 per cent of residents against the scheme, the social overview and scrutiny committee, led by Labour councillor Lynn Chesterman, voted down the proposals.

It voted against the release of the five-figure sum and the installation of the machines.

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Cllr Chesterman said she was surprised she managed to convince five of her Conservative colleagues to vote against their introduction, but was even more shocked by director Bob Jewell’s reaction.

She said: “Mr Jewell said despite our vote, the cabinet would have the final say.

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“I was shocked. That’s not democratic, we have said this should not go before cabinet. The cabinet is not elected, we are.”

She added it was outrageous the council was thinking of spending �60,000 on machines when �70,000 had just been cut from the charity and voluntary groups grant budget.

A council spokeswoman said: “As per the executive process, all recommendations from committees are passed to the council’s cabinet for a final decision.

“Whether a committee recommends something or doesn’t recommend something, the cabinet holds the final decision on what to do; this is how the process works.

“Committees make recommendations, not decisions. Decision-making powers lie with the cabinet.”

The cabinet will decide whether to spend the �60,000 and introduce parking charges at the playing fields at a meeting on Tuesday.

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