Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:45 am on 3rd February 2017.

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Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government) 10:45 am, 3rd February 2017

It is always good to be part of the legislative process when the hon. Gentleman is on the Opposition Front Bench.

Helmsley is an interesting example. It was the winner of the 2015 Great British High Street competition—a competition I thought at the time would put paid to my ministerial career. Helmsley was in the final with Chipping Norton, which was in the constituency of the former Prime Minister, David Cameron. When Helmsley beat Chipping Norton in the final, I thought my life would not be worth living, but I am glad to say the former Prime Minister did not hold it against me.

Helmsley is an important example because it has a significant number of visitors, and provision has to be put in place for coaches and buses to park. Buses parked in a bus station is possibly a different situation, and I will probably have to come back to my hon. Friend about it. However, many events happen in places such as Helmsley, and local traders might be very heartened if the local authority used the Bill’s provisions to reduce its car parking charges.

In conclusion, good communication between local authorities and the public is absolutely vital for a healthy democracy. That extends to local authorities being clear about their decision-making process. That means the public knowing why decisions are taken. Such decisions affect individuals and their communities and—this is not overstating the matter—can have a profound effect on the lives and jobs of many, many people.

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