CLAIMS the ruling ‘rainbow administration’ at Waverley breached procedures by delegating changes to car-park charges to its officers have been denied.
Opposition Tory councillors raised concerns at Waverley borough Council’s February 18 meeting to approve the 2020/21 budget as it meant the new tariffs (see above) – which will take effect in April – would go ahead without the need for full council approval.
They also objected that details of the new charges were not part of the budget papers.
Although the charges were approved by the council, the changes to each car park were not made available to the public until 24 hours later.
Waverley Conservatives leader Cllr Julia Potts said: “This appears in conflict with the constitution of the council and gives me cause for concern.
“I am concerned on the misinformation and confusion in the way this decision was presented to full council – firstly by way of an email from an officer that did not form part of our papers, and secondly the lack of consultation with the public or the opportunity for elected members to add value to the wider review and proposed strategy.”
Haslemere Tory councillor Robert Knowles added: “I am astonished that for the first time in 13 years on the council, the car park fees have not been on the council agenda.
“I spoke against the proposals at full council, as it increases the tariff in Haslemere to subsidise other parts of the borough.
“I was opposed to the charges in Haslemere the last time they were increased.”
But a Waverley spokesperson defended the move.
They said: “The decision to modify car park tariffs was undertaken in line with council procedures.
“The changes were approved by the Section 151 officer in consultation with the relevant portfolio holders and in accordance with the council’s financial regulations, which were updated and agreed at a full council meeting on December 10.
“The parking tariffs were mentioned in the budget papers for information and context but councillors were not required to vote on the detail of the tariffs.”
The Waverley deputy leader, Lib Dem Paul Follows, also defended the decision to delegate car park charges – and said he was proud the cross-party administration was doing things differently.
He said: “We want to have a conversation about each car park and be flexible in how we address it. This is the start of that process.”
“We were elected to start thinking and doing things differently, and the cross-party administration is committed to doing that.”