OPINION

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Drivers hit in pocket

It was only yesterday that this newspaper came to the defence of the council against an attack by Government Minister Eric Pickles who said on-street parking charges were driving motorists away from the high street. Our defence was based on the fact the Government should be doing more to encourage retailers through the business rate tax rather than focusing on parking policies. But we do believe parking charges are being used as a cash machine for motorists. And two reports in today’s newspaper reinforce that view. First, is the cash-guzzling speed camera on The Parkway, which in three years has raked in nearly £900,000 in fines issued to motorists who could be excused for thinking that a dual carriageway allowed for speeds greater than 40mph. There is little evidence that the camera is being used to improve road safety – especially as motorists have to slow down at the ring road junction anyway. So why place a camera there other than to penalise motorists? And then we have the council which is making more than £1m profit simply by charging residents for the privilege of parking outside their own homes.It defies logic that there is a charge for a permit. Surely the reason why permits are required is to deter people who don’t live in the street from taking the parking place – not to charge people who do live there. If a fee is required to pay for a warden, fair enough, but £1.2m is an outrageous profit margin.

Spira has right spirit

Businesswoman Spira Deb should be an inspiration to anyone thinking of setting up their own company. She is a multi-award-winner and has now been shortlisted for the prestigious Creative Mind 2013 awards. The 40-year-old transferred her skills as a molecular biologist to set up The Play Arena which is heading for a turnover of £1m in its first year. As the judges recognised, Spira has a strong drive and passion, and has proven that with the right idea, you can be truly successful.