End to free parking for council staff

COUNCIL staff look set to lose a free parking perk as part of a congestion-busting travel plan.Colchester Borough Council has drawn up a travel plan for its own employees in a bid to cut the number of cars coming into the town centre.

By Juliette Maxam

COUNCIL staff look set to lose a free parking perk as part of a congestion-busting travel plan.

Colchester Borough Council has drawn up a travel plan for its own employees in a bid to cut the number of cars coming into the town centre.

One of the major changes proposed is to charge council employees and councillors £2.50 a day for parking in the council's town centre car parks, including the parking area behind the Town Hall.


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The plan will also offer a number of alternatives to help staff make the switch from driving, such as car sharing through the Travelshare Essex initiative and a 50% discount on bus travel with major bus operators in the town.

Employees and councillors would be encouraged to get on their bikes for council business with a bicycle mileage allowance.

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The council's cabinet have referred the travel plan to the overview and scrutiny panel for further inspection, but planning and transport portfolio holder Richard Gower said he hoped the plan will come into force at the beginning of the next financial year.

Mr Gower said: “As a major local employer we recognise our responsibility to do our bit to beat traffic congestion in Colchester.”

He added: “We hope other employers throughout the borough will follow our lead and think about the positive moves they can take to help reduce congestion on the borough's roads.”

The council is a founding member of the local strategic partnership Colchester 2020 Travel Plan Club which includes the town's biggest employers. They are each launching their own travel plans, ultimately affecting 10,000 employees.

In October, Unison, the union representing council employees, said there were “serious reservations” about some of the proposals and claim they will have a detrimental impact on employees and the council as a whole.

Among their concerns were the lack of viable alternative transport options and the impact on work performance for people who use their cars for council business

Yesterday no-one from Unison was available to comment about the plan.

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