11:50am Thursday 10th January 2013
By James Pepper
The final decision on whether to bring back a popular parking scheme for residents living within two controlled parking zones (CPZ) will be made next week.
After a motion was tabled by the Conservatives, councillors will now have to decide on whether to give back the 200 hours worth of free visitor parking permits it introduced as part of the scheme in 2006.
In 2007 the allocation was reduced to 100 hours in order to save the council £61,600, and was further reduced to 50 hours last year.
Residents within the Sutton South and Belmont CPZ's claim they were told from the outset that they would always get 200 hours a year to give to friends and relatives.
Mary Gates, who lives on Rutherford Close, Sutton, said 50 hours was simply not enough.
She said: "50 hours is one week's parking. If you have some work done to your house, say a plumber, that could take a full week and then we can have no visitors for a year, it's just not fair, especially when the council said our 200 hours would never be taken off us, and we have been charged more and more for extra vouchers over the years. "
Five months ago the Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee voted in favour of allocating funds to give the vouchers back to residents but were told last month they were not allowed to by the council.
A report has been carried out by the head of parking services, which showed that allowing the current 50 hours to be increased to 200 hours would cost the council £2.16 per household.
Sutton South has 2751 houses within the CPZ, 822 of the which currently have free vouchers, in Belmont there are 378 houses in the CPZ, with 107 of the currently applying for free vouchers.
Tony Shields, chairman of Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee, said: "I listened to residents and they want their 200 hours vouchers back. By not allowing this it is hitting the vulnerable and the elderly the hardest as they need visitors to come and look after them."
A council spokesperson said: "This issue will be debated at Full Council on Monday next week. We do not wish to comment further until after that discussion, which will take all factors into consideration."
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