THOUSANDS of leaflets will be handed out to Ellesmere Port shoppers in a bid to keep the town’s main car park free of charge.
Independent politicians John Wilson, Jonathan Starkey and Henny Moore are printing 5,000 leaflets containing the phone numbers of 26 prominent councillors, 18 of which represent the borough and are inviting the public to call if they do not want parking charges to return.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is planning to introduce a ‘free after 3pm’ parking scheme at the Asda car park, which means shoppers will be charged up until that time.
Leader Mike Jones says the move will be discussed during an executive meeting tonight, but expects the scheme to be introduced between mid-June and mid-July.
Former borough councillor John Wilson said: “We are providing the public with the information to lobby their councillors if they want to keep it free.
“We’re putting phone numbers on that are readily available on the council website and posing questions for the public to ask.
“We’re printing off 5,000 but we can do more if we need to. We’ll be giving them to shops to distribute and we’ll be in the car park handing them out.
“Free parking has given businesses a big boost, it has done the job. They shouldn’t keep changing it all the time.
“This isn’t anything to do with politics, it’s about doing something for Ellesmere Port. We’re looking for people to respond to the leaflet and if they need our help we will be here to offer it.”
Cllr Jones said: “The decision has not been formally made. It was a reckless decision by Ellesmere Port and Neston borough council to make it free.
“They did it to cause problems for the new council. It costs around half-a-million-pounds to run for a full year, which is a hit we can’t cope with at the moment.
“Our overall aim is to reduce it over time, but we can’t do that all at once.”
Former borough council leader, councillor Justin Madders has vowed to do all he can to fight the move.
He said: “I always thought they were going to reintroduce the charges as they had planned for it in the budget and had twice voted against my proposal that they remain free.”