Labour votes down Lib Dem plan to bring back Free After 3pm parking for Sunderland city centre

28 Feb 2024

Labour councillors in Sunderland have rejected a plan put forward by opposition Liberal Democrats to bring back the popular ‘Free After 3’ parking which was axed in January.

A bid to bring back free parking after 3pm at St Mary’s and Sunniside car parks in Sunderland city centre – and to extend it to the new Riverside multi-storey car park on Farringdon Row – has been rejected by Labour councillors in charge of Sunderland City Council.

The vote was called by opposition Lib Dem councillors as part of the council’s meeting to agree its 2024/25 Budget this evening (28 February).

The Lib Dem plan would have restored ‘Free After 3pm’ parking - paid for by cutting the cost of doing politics, including slashing councillor allowances and ending free parking for councillors in St Mary’s Car park.

The opposition party also proposed extra spending on new enforcement officers, dog wardens, additional garden waste bin collections throughout the year, more road and pavement repairs, new pedestrian crossings on busy road across the city and reducing the planned Council Tax rise by 1.6%.

Speaking after the vote on bringing back Free After 3pm parking Hendon and city centre councillor Ciaran Morrissey said:

“It is disappointing that ruling councillors have rejected this opportunity to do the right thing and bring back Free After 3 parking to encourage people back into our city centre and to boost businesses and our local economy in the town. Lib Dem councillors will keep fighting to bring back free parking and for a proper strategy to urgently bring our city centre back to life.”

Grindon and Thorney Close councillor Margaret Crosby added:

“This isn’t just an issue about our local economy – it is also one of women’s safety. We have heard from scores of people, particularly lower-paid female retail and leisure workers, who have been priced out of safe, secure parking in St Mary’s car park where there is CCTV and a member of staff. Reinstating the "free after 3pm" policy would not only help businesses but also demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the safety of all members of our community.”

Ciaran Morrissey in Sunderland city centre

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