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In search of… common sense


market place

Poles apart

You see the poles in the photo, one has a sign on it with a P on it for parking. See it? No, maybe not and you might not see the sign on the other pole because it’s not there! So how do you know the parking restrictions? Don’t worry about it, they’re all disabled spaces anyway there. Those signs are on the tarmac and virtually unreadable. I went to Morison’s supermarket on Thursday. I don’t usually go there, I go to Asda, Aldi or Lidl.  There are signs saying it’s pay and display parking but it’s not consistent with other supermarket car parks  and so I forgot and got a £25.00 parking ticket from a private company acting on behalf of the council. But then, £25.00 is nothing if you’re the chief executive of Sandwell Council on £139,000 a years plus expenses, plus pension, plus his own blog, plus executive toilet paper.

I had a letter from a prospective candidate for the council this morning who wants to scrap parking charges if elected. He would be able to do very little if elected. He’s a Tory and as little chance of getting elected and even if he did would be in a minority. Tory councillors in Sandwell once claimed to hold their meetings in a telephone box; there was only two of them!

We have to have parking charges or the stupid people would park and walk around town all bloody day. It has to be sensible  and consistent. I think a system where you put 50p in a slot to get into a car park would be good.

The system at the Manor hospital in Walsall is a little complicated but you can’t forget to get your ticket. You drive up to a barrier and press a button, get a ticket and the barrier lets you on to the car park. Then you park, do whatever in the hospital and when you return pay a £1 for every 30 minutes at the machine and then use the ticket to raise the barrier to get off the car park. Couldn’t be simpler could it? I think £2 an hour is a bit much if you’re visiting someone in hospital and I think if a doctor is running late you get charged more which can be unfair too. You can get a parking space which is better than it used to be before the charges. We have to have charges to stop the stupid people parking and going for lunch in the hospital. Maybe a ticket that costs £10 and lasts for a week or even 2 weeks would work for visitors?

Walsall town centre has a similar problem as people hate the parking arrangements and shop keepers campaign for free parking. Free parking wouldn’t work and it is difficult to park. The pedestrianized precinct doesn’t help. The one way system around those winding streets doesn’t really attract shoppers, either.

Walsall Art gallery plans to spend £250,000 attracting in a bid to host the Turner prize  in 2015 to attract money to the town. They think they can attract over £2 million,  I assume they expect that to be spent in the shops. That will raise a few quid for the council in car parking charges. The gallery expect to get 80,000 visitors a month, that’s a lot of car parking. Of course, if the bid is unsuccessful, it would be £250,000 down the drain. I assume that’s council tax money; plenty more where that came from…

Do you have a topic that requires a common sense solution, do tell us with a comment. I can write about it next Saturday! If you live in Walsall and you’ve just had your council tax bill. Are you excited about the Turner prize bid thingy? Bet you are!

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