The Darlington Liberation Army (DLA) has launched a petition demanding the immediate resignation of a council leader and his cabinet.
The group is calling for a vote of no confidence in council leader Bill Dixon and his fellow councillors, claiming Darlington Borough Council is turning the town centre into a “ghost town”.
The DLA was established earlier this year in the wake of conflict between town centre traders and Darlington Borough Council over car parking policies.
It aims to act as a channel for frustrated residents and traders to voice their opinions on the council and its policies.
The group counts among its supporters local florist Rob Metcalfe, who has a copy of the petition available to sign at his shop, Claire Metcalfe Florists, on Bondgate.
Accusing Darlington Borough Council of “serious failings” it says:
“We would like to declare a vote of no confidence in William Dixon and all of the other Cabinet members.
“We ask that as a result of their serious failings they all resign from their positions as council leader and cabinet members respectively, with immediate effect.
“By signing this petition we express that we no longer have any confidence in the leader and the cabinet and request that they stand down now.”
“Their decision making appears to be professionally skewed and has ulterior motive/s and as such they are turning the town centre into a ghost town not only for shoppers but retailers…”
According to Darlington Borough Council’s website, any petition containing more than 1,000 signatures will be debated by the cabinet at the next possible meeting.
The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present it at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by members of the cabinet who will decide how to respond to issues raised.
He added: “I will make sure that happens.”
Asked if he was considering his position in the light of the petition he replied: “Definitely not. That’s a matter for the electorate.“
Source – Northern Echo, 05 Nov 2014
A disgruntled resident has plastered a North-East town with posters attacking its council for their parking policies.
Posters spotted across Darlington recently accuse the local authority of creating a ghost town and damaging trade.
The anonymous protestor has created a variety of signs, all illustrated with a picture of a parking ticket.
One says “Welcome to Darlington, we don’t want you or your customers in our empty town” while another says “Welcome to Darlington, we love empty shops”.
A more detailed – and laminated – version found pinned to the Old English Gentleman pub on Bondgate said: “Welcome to Darlington. Darlington Council loves empty shops, Darlington Council hates vehicles, hates customers, hates business. Traffic warden *** is helping make their dreams of a ghost town come true.”
Council leader Bill Dixon described the posters as cowardly and criticised the attack on the individual traffic warden.
He said: “As a town centre we are doing incredibly well and have the lowest rate of vacant shops in the North-East.
“We’ve got enough town centre parking at present. Parking wardens have instructions and take ten minutes to issue a ticket. Where possible, they ask people to move but if someone’s parked illegally, what can they do?
He added: “This person is running their town centre down which doesn’t help anybody here.
“We have the best performing town centre in the North-East and some of our traders are turning against it and that’s sad.
“This kind of fly-posting is the last thing people need to see and it gives the wrong impression.”
Local trader Beryl Hankin, from the Guru boutique, has been lobbying the council to improve parking for years but says this approach could put more people off visiting the town.
She said: “It smacks of desperation and is probably someone who feels this is the only way to get their message across but it’s not great for the town in general.
“Since pedestrianisation, there’s been a noticeable detrimental difference – if you can’t get cars in, it effects trade.
“Vehicle access is vital to a town’s success. The multi-storey car park being built will help but it will take a long time and a lot of little businesses can’t hold on until then.”
> So if someone can’t drive their car virtually into a shop, they won’t shop there anymore ? And will spend more on fuel to go to another town, just to spite ?
As a non-driver, I have to say the fewer cars in town centres, the better I like it.
And if you don’t want a parking ticket, dont break the parking rules.
Source – Northern Echo, 28 June 2014