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Car park hours extension ‘was always controversial’

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PROPOSALS in the Government Plan to extend chargeable car parking hours in St Helier were ‘controversial’ the Chief Minister has admitted after they were rejected by the States

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The government’s income and spending plans for the next four years were passed almost unanimously by the States on Monday, following a week of debate which saw seven of 23 amendments passed.

The biggest defeat for the government came when Deputy Russell Labey’s amendment to block the extension of chargeable hours in public car parks to between 7am and 6pm was passed by 30 votes to 12.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said that the government would need to adapt its plans because of the vote.

‘I appreciate the careful consideration Members have given to this plan, which combines a four-year package of spending, investment, efficiencies and modernisation proposals,’ he said.

‘Increasing the price of parking in town was always going to be controversial and we will now need to consider our spending plans in the light of the amendment to this proposal.

‘I note the request for ministers to establish a new way for backbenchers to feed into the plan, and we will discuss with Members how they might want to be involved earlier on in the process, before we develop next year’s plan.’

He added that ministers rejected a number of amendments on the basis that there was not adequate funding or the proposals would have disrupted ongoing workflows.

‘In the run-up to the debate ministers considered all the amendments carefully,’ he said.

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‘We accepted and adjusted where we could, trying to meet Members’ objectives in a way that is sustainable and affordable.

‘There were some, however, that we couldn’t accept as they took funding away from priority areas or established unsustainable spending commitments.

‘We have several reviews underway and once we have received their recommendations, we can make well-evidenced decisions, rather than piecemeal changes that may create more problems than they solve.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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