Labour councillors will challenge the Conservative administration to make the distribution of roads improvement money fairer, after it was revealed that only 3% of the available funding raised from parking charges will be used in the County Town.
A paper showing that towns and villages around Suffolk will be specifically benefiting rather than Ipswich will be presented to Cabinet on the 1st July 2015.
The on-street parking account is made up of parking charges collected only in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, with the money earmarked for the provision of public transport services, highway improvements (as defined by the Highways Act 1980) or local environmental improvements.
Currently there is almost £2m sat in the account waiting to be used for improvements.
Ipswich Borough Council submitted five separate bids to Suffolk County Council to use its share of the budget, all five of which have been rejected. The bids from IBC total around £135k – less than 7% of the total sum. The funding generated by parking fines in Ipswich in this year alone is £126,087, and money has been accumulating in the County’s coffers for years.
Cllr Sandra Gage, Labour’s Roads, Transport and Planning spokesperson, raised the unfairness of the County Council’s transport funding in November 2013 when budgets for local transport schemes in market towns but not in Ipswich were announced. Cllr Newman, the Conservative Cabinet member for transport, admitted that neither Ipswich nor Lowestoft would benefit from the market towns funding, and he promised to review the allocation of the on street parking account in 2014. This promised review is not mentioned in Tuesday’s paper. Now, once again Suffolk County Council has denied Ipswich its fair share of funding for road safety around the town, Cllr Newman has once again reneged on his promise and once again the County Town is missing out on much needed improvements.
Cllr Gage said; “On Friday, when it was revealed that the Borough’s request for Town signs had been rejected, Graham Newman insisted that he rejected claims that the County treats Ipswich with contempt. Well it seems to me, with Ipswich now subsidising the rest of the County’s transport schemes, without getting its fair share of the pot, that that is exactly what he is doing’. I will be challenging this proposal at Cabinet on the 1 July.”