Vote of 'no confidence' for Elfan Ap Rees on town centre parking policies
PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 February 2018
Councillors gave North Somerset Council's deputy leader a vote of no confidence after he failed to attend a Weston Town Council meeting to address parking concerns.
Elfan Ap Rees, the executive member for planning, highways and transport, was invited to attend the meeting on January 22 to discuss on-street parking, enforcement and residents’ permits.
In an email, Cllr Ap Rees said he ‘couldn’t add anything useful’ and suggested the authority’s parking manager Allan Taylor attend instead.
His email stated: “We have agreed that he is in a far better position to explain these to your members and why the current enforcement is merely reinforcing the parking laws that actually existed before North Somerset took over responsibility from the police. Under these circumstances I don’t believe I can add anything useful.”
During the meeting, business owners and councillors raised a number of concerns about plans to introduce Sunday parking charges, the increase to on-street parking fees and enforcement issues in the town.
MORE: Increased parking charges for Weston confirmed.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr John Crockford-Hawley said: “Many of the regulations were unfit for purpose and should have been changed before Mr Ap Rees introduced this new system.
“I understand the vitriol and anger, but I don’t think North Somerset has responded in the way it should have done. It’s not our job to hang, draw and quarter an officer. It’s our job to interrogate the elected member who makes these decisions.”
Cllr Crockford-Hawley proposed a vote of no confidence in Cllr Ap Rees which was agreed by the majority of members.
Speaking after the vote, Cllr Ap Rees said there had been a ‘misunderstanding’ as he was told the authority wanted to know about North Somerset’s parking policies and regulations.
He said: “North Somerset Council is carrying out a full review of car parking across the authority and, while Allan Taylor is quite willing to go along and tell town councillors what the rules and regulations are, but there’s really not much point doing anything more until we go out to consultation later this year.
“It’s not for me to go to parish council meetings. It’s much better for professional officers to attend these things because they can answer questions.”