local voices

Parking charges (and parking provision more generally) and the building of super-markets – are explosive issues across Cumbria. There is an overwhelming demand from Penrith shop-keepers, for example, to turn the current abandoned supermarket site into free temporary parking.  Most shops are finding that trade is down.  Across Britain, from Perth to Devon, independent high streets are being replaced with chain stores and threatened by the super-markets. We need to find a solution to the decline in trade in town centers, which is more than simply importing festivals, hanging baskets or supermarkets. But the even more fundamentally we need to find a sensible way of including communities in the developments of their own towns.  This is not a question of phony  consultations; nor of promising to satisfy desires which are impractical or unaffordable. But it is at least about allowing communities to provide a serious reality check to projects – pointing out when schemes do not make sense. Almost every day, I meet Cumbrians with knowledgeable, creative solutions to local problems, which are not being taken up by government.

Print Friendly and PDF