Rhodri James (Lib Dem Councillor for Arbury),
I have read your “Focus on Arbury” newsletter this evening within which in your section on the congestion charge you state:
“Lib Dem councillors have said they will not support the scheme unless residents pay much less than people driving into the City from outside.”
Yet you have written to me on the 22nd of January on the subject of the Congestion Charge stating:
“Local citizens and delivery drivers are most of the problem”
County council officers at public consultation events have also made it clear that to be effective the charge must deter residents from using the roads of Cambridge. Opposing charging residents but otherwise supporting the congestion charge, and supporting the expansion of the city without insisting on transport improvements being put in-place as a condition of new development does not appear to me to be an consistent position to hold.
I oppose the congestion charge, and believe new development around the city should be conditional on the necessary transport improvements.
I hope readers of your newsletter realise that considering discounts is just tinkering round the edges and the real question you should have been answering is if you support the congestion charge or not, and if Cambridge needs, wants, or can cope with the expansion of the City which is being proposed.
Update: Councillor James’ response I think made clear his support for a congestion charge:
We already need some form of congestion management; try travelling into Cambridge on any of the main arterial roads at rush hour. Can we manage without a charge of some sort? Much as I’d love to think otherwise, I honestly doubt it. Is the blanket area charge the county council are proposing the right way to do it? Almost certainly not.