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Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Nottingham's Workplace Parking Levy



Bus in Nottingham city centre. Photo by Joe Buxton
Nottingham is the first city in England to bring in the parking scheme

A parking tax for businesses in Nottingham has passed its final official hurdle. We want to know your thoughts.

The city council approved the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) which will come into force in 2012 and start at £253 per space, per year.

The WPL is a charge that would be made to City of Nottingham employers. Parking spaces liable for a levy would be those employers provide for their staff or certain types of business visitors.

All the money raised from a workplace parking levy would be invested back into funding more and better public transport in Nottingham, including the extension of the tram network.

However, some business leaders have warned the WPL will damage the local economy.

Nottingham is the first council to bring in the scheme, after ministers gave local authorities the powers in 2000 to introduce workplace parking charges to fund public transport improvements.

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I would like to ask... why are we being groomed to accept the WPL in Nottingham? We had giant posters along the tram routes, we've had to suffer the inevitable one sided debates and now we are expected to compare ourselves with Perth Australia. The population of Perth is double that of Nottingham, and if life is so good here in Britain why are hundreds of thousands of people leaving here to go there.

Its plainer than the nose on yer face that as far as this greedy Labour council are concerned.....The quest is indeed far more important to them than the grail itself.

Surely we have the right as council tax payers, as parking ticket fine payers, employers, employees, etc., to ask you for more transparency on these issues.

Oh and by the way .....when the kids are on holiday where is all this conjestion you keep talking about?

It is not an argument to say that you have averaged out the figures..That is utter rubbish It is a fact that when children are at school even minor roads are virtually impassable because of kids being dropped off at school. Estate roads all over Nottingham close to schools are conjested to. Perhaps you are levying the wrong people..
Kenneth Taylor

For a lot of us we no longer have a direct bus to parts of the city. A journey that takes 15 minutes to work in a car will take one and a half hours by bus. We also have no tram, train available. The tax is a additional tax on top of the high taxes we already pay and jobs will be lost.
Giles

I think people are missing the point to this. It will cut congestion and ATTRACT investment to the area, not put off businesses. Congestion and poor transport links at the moment negatively affect 80% of Notts businesses so saying that we should leave things as they are is clearly not the answer. I applaud the Council for being the first and think the more widespread the tram goes the better. You can get a season ticket bus pass which works out at £1 a day which is the same as the WPL so there are alternatives. Nottingham was also rated the 2nd best city in England for cycling.
Felix Stratton

Has anyone else noticed how quiet the roads are with the children off school this week. I was wondering how many children go to school on the tram (none)!!! Perhaps if we persuaded kids to walk to school we could have uncongested roads all the time. IT HAS NOTHING, NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TRAM!!! PLEASE COUNCIL STOP BEING OBSSESED WITH THE TRAM AND SORT POLICE AND EDUCATION, FOCUS ON THINGS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND THINGS PEOPLE WANT!!!
Mike Green

Well the surveys are all in and guess what... most people dont like this new tax. i have an idea, lets make this a line in the sand issue, for once lets all stick together and refuse on mass to pay it. can the council stop referring to it as a levy its a tax.
Andy

The crux of the matter is that whilst in Perth, commuters have the option of specially designated parking with free buses into the city, there will be nothing like that in Nottingham as councils in this country are more interested in penalising people to change their behaviour rather than incentivising them. This tax should be accompanied by improved park and rides and cycle routes throughout the city, but it won't be. The revenue raised will only benefit people living or working on the new proposed tram route. It should be for the benefit of everyone who has to live and work in Nottingham, otherwise it will create hundreds of commuters who cannot afford to pay the tax left with spending a disproportionate amount of their daily lives on a public transport system that doesn't meet their needs and cannot cope.
Sue

I really do think that people have missed the point over this. This is a tax on people using their cars to get to work within the Nottingham City Boundary and to park at their place of work, which is NOT public space, but space owned and provided by their employers. This is not a scheme to try and persuade people to ditch their cars and use public transport. In fact, if that happened then this City Council would not extract the funds they need to build more routes for a tram that is little used by the people who actually live in the City area.

To say I am incensed by this grossly unfair and questionably legal tax on my merely being at work (which in these times is a blessing to those of us who have previously been made redundant). Who came up with this idea in the first place - I would love to speak to them face-to-face. I know I am not alone in knowing that this will leave many people financially worse off when having to pay for this from our much-needed monthly income. Where do the Council think we are going to get this from? I work in the Lenton area and to use public transport would mean 2 buses and take me 3 times as long to get to and from work. I have already been told that my employer will pass on this charge as they have a considerable amount of parking spaces in various locations so cannot afford to pay this themselves.

Are we going to get a tax break to cover this? Who cares what they have done in Perth - from what I can see the people there don't like it either. What next? Taxing us to walk along the pavements?
Mrs Shirley Woolley

This is an outrageous tax on employment by a Labour(!)council. It is unfair in its application, it is using employers as tax collectors and it does not target most of those who cause congestion. Trams are fine but do not punish people who happen to work for the major employers in order to pay for them.
Jon Pole

Are the council banking on people using their cars and paying the levy? What I don't understand is - if everyone decides to use public transport where will the funding for the new tram come from?
Janet

Is Nottingham "following" Perth? Perth's WPL only applies to the inner city - will Nottingham's? Perth's WPL applies to nearly all businesses within the zone - will Nottingham's? Perth provides free public transport within it's WPL Zone - will Nottingham? Does not Perth also provide free bus passes to WPL payers - if it does, will Nottingham? The growth of Perth's Central Business District is restricted by an estuary - is Nottingham's? No doubt underground car parking is restricted for the same reason in Perth - is it in Nottingham? Is there a problem with congestion in central Nottingham, and if there is what is the cause? If you halve the number of roads available to traffic you double the traffic on the remaining roads. If you double the distance traffic has to travel from A to B you double it again. If you halve traffic speeds you double traffic on the road at any one time yet again. And if you narrow roads and prevent overtaking of slow vehicles and easy by-passing of vehicles turning off you TRIPLE traffic. So if you do all that you increase traffic by TWENTY FOUR TIMES. But how much traffic wants to go through the centre in the first place? The proportion of traffic on the arterial routes into Nottingham that is actually heading for inner Nottingham is as low as 6%, the rest wants to go to other parts of the city, county and country, but there isn't a decent road system it can use to by-pass the centre, or even the city. Which means as much as SIXTEEN times as much traffic is forced into the centre as wants to go there because of the council's poor planning. And then the council artificially multiplies that ANOTHER TWENTY FOUR TIMES by its deliberate congestion creating measures! Is it any wonder we have congestion! Oh, and guess what, if the Transport "Planners" did their job properly you wouldn't need to concrete over the city with 24 lane superhighways to accomodate the traffic: You could simply use the existing roads with the congestion creating measures removed. And a decent set of ring roads and by-passes.
BJ Mann

Visiting other regional UK cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, and - dare I say it - Leicester, it's obvious that Nottingham has got its work cut out for it trying to compete as it is. Why on earth would we want to establish another barrier to prevent companies from doing business in our city? It's hardly an invitation for the private sector to invest, now, is it?
Ian Smith

I don't agree with having to pay an additional tax for going to work!! Even though I have no effect on City Traffic and drive outside of core business hours. I will have to pay to park at work. I do not have a local tram that will get me from home to work and if I did use public transport I would have to get two buses and have a 45 minute walk to get to and from the bus stop. The only alternative would be to consider changing my job.
Sue

The WPL is just a con to get quick and easy money for the City Council. We're not going to get the free bus service which Perth gets. The money just goes into the City coffers. Lets charge people who drive into the city centre instead.
Eric Foxley

Who needs another tram? We don't. Nobody travels into Nottingham to work by car through choice so why penalise those who have to? This will have the undesired effect of driving businesses out of the area.
Jim Parkhouse

This is a money making scheme, perhaps if government both national and local did not waste money on nonsense we would have more for transport in the first place. This is nothing short of another tax on going to work, we already pay enough tax on petrol. The council should be ashamed of itself.
Adam

I was a 'teenager' during WWII. Petrol was rationed, so there were hardly any cars on the road. People used the buses, rode cycles, or walked. We did not grumble; we were much fitter and slimmer than todays car drivers. I live in Forest Fields, and when Tram Route 1 was being installed, NO-ONE wanted it! Everyone was complaining that businesses would cease; that Radford Road would be deserted etc., etc. Now you cannot find anyone who does not like the tram. Drivers can park on the 'park-and-ride' sites FREE, and the tram fares are good if you get a monthly ticket.
Nina Sansom

Ultimately the empoyee, not the employer will be paying for this. The tram is fine if you live where the tram goes but the tax is unfair if you live in an area that isn't. Isn't there a precedent for this? When Ken Livingstone reduced underground fares in London and put the cost on the rates the scheme was deemed unfair because the underground system favoured those living North of the Thames. This tax favours those that live on the Tram routes. The courts could and should prevent this nonsense now.
Smithers Wayland

The tram system shouldn't need subsidising it should pay for itself and probably would if it wasn't for the useless ticketing system which is open to abuse and let's anyone who ignores the ticket seller travel for free. I would estimate that at best 20% of travellers don't pay for their journey and i remember for well over a year of operation the scanners didn't work so anyone who bought a plastic pass could travel indefinitely for free.. You could argue that the bigger this system gets the more money it will lose so lets get the current system running at a profit first before we even think of expanding it.
James

Yes, it is necessary to pay for the tram extension. Yes, the main beneficiaries of decongestion will have to contribute. No, people do not need to abandon their cars. Unlike Beeching and Marples [60s], travel is being diversified so that a car journey is augmented by park and ride via rapid transit into the city. Boots' self-interest and Chamber of commerce myopia and sabre-rattling are predictable responses when you know that Boots buses its work-force from all over the city and would have infra-structural losses from self-reliance and mis-directed investment. Mobility serves Everyone, Especially businesses looking to locate to Nottingham; Especially the third of Nottingham's residents who do not have their own transport. certain so-called citizens need to grow up and stop the habits of a life-time to accommodate needs beyond me me me long enough to step outside of their small-vehicle cocoon and see that transport is moving on from the nuclear family vehicle and into unprecedented physical mobility for All its citizens, not just a well-off, privileged few.
Rodrigo Portico

I think Nottingham City Council will regret the decision to introduce the WPL as it will only result in businesses & visitors alike shunning Nottingham in favour of more viable alternatives. The Council should be trying to attract businesses & visitors to raise more revenue not deter them.
Jason

My issue with the tax is that it covers all parking within the NCC boundary and not just core, city centre spaces. This means, for example, that if you work at the business park adjoining the Phoenix tram stop you're charged for parking there whereas a "park and ride" commuter will not be, even though they may have made the exact same journey to the site. This shows that it has nothing to do with tackling congestion and is merely a way of making money.
Louise

I am not a car user, however, I still oppose the parking levy. My daughter works at the University at night until 10pm also part time. There has in the past been issues regarding the security of its staff walking through the campus at night. I feel this aspect of safety and other issues which implementation of this tax will bring have not been thought through.
Barbara Lees

An absolutely unfair task. The Nottingham City Council want voting out at the next elections! A tax on all road users would be fairer than to penalise those that park in the city boundary.

This is all about reducing congestion - this does nothing but penalise the few. The NCC is a council that is totally against car owners and for charging sky high rates for parking etc. When they have no retail traders in the city and no trade - because they have forced all companies and retailers out of the city they will wonder how they can collect rates from empty premises.

This Council are the equivalent of the Sheriff of Nottingham - except that they are robbing everyone! and there is no Robin Hood in sight!!!!
Russell Whillis

Another tax on motorists ... totally unnecessary... get rid of any counsellor in favour of it at the next election. All affected should refuse to pay & strike indefinitely until it's abolished.
Patrick

As a single parent of two children working part time this cost will affect me terribly. I go to work because I have pride and I need to for my own sanity - I am not a spunger. But this extra tax will bring me so close to the poverty line that it may be more beneficial for me to give up work and go on benefits. Something I do not want to do as I am fully capable of working. I live in the city and the next thing the council will probably introduce will be parking permits. If that was to happen I would have to relocate and change my childrens school. I think we are taxed enough. Why should I pay for the tram that I do not, and cannot use? Surely the council can fund this in other ways so that those who will benefit from the tram actually pay instead of everyone. I have no benefit from this tax at all.
Sue Davis

I'm all in favour of taxing polluters and encouraging more environmental forms of travel. Taxing people who travel in the city where public transport is available seems fairer than taxing people in rural communities where there are few options.

However I'm not convinced adding one or two narrow tram routes is a sensible use of the money. Compared to buses they are ridiculously expensive and inflexible. Buses have the advantage of pneumatic tyres and steering, so underground services don't have to be diverted at huge public expense.

As a regular bus user, I think more should be done to improve services which have been in constant decline for years. Buses need above all to be frequent, regular and reliable. Preferably also habitable, but they are improving on that front. I am also a regular cyclist and think more could be done to create safe and direct cycling routes. If the Broadmarsh redevelopment continues to prevent any North-South cycling route through the city (from train station to say old Market Square) then a massive opportunity will have been missed and Nottingham City Council's green transport credentials will be open to question.
Rob Edlin-White

I'd like to know why the public were denied a vote on this issue, how much the scheme will cost to administer and how long its going to last for - is this a permanent tax or just during the construction phase ? What happens if the tax doesn't raise as much money as hoped for? What if businesses start to reduce the number of on-site parking spaces (when the window tax was introduced in the 18th century many people simply bricked up their windows to avoid paying it)?
Jon G

Most unfair tax ever, only people who need to use their car for work, pay. No account of poorly paid part-time or shift workers. I do not believe they will improve county services money will only be spent on the city buses. Labour will lose many voters, I was a member but will not vote for them because of the wpl.
Brian Leek

To fund public transport improvements. But only for a limited area, I travel from a village north of Newark every day into Nottingham. I have tried to get the bus and train but the connections don't work out for me to be able to get into work and out at the times to suit my employer. Rather than build a tram for the city we need an affordable, integrated transport system that covers the whole county at times that we need to travel.
Jo

Count how many empty premises in city .WPL will make more, stagger the school start and finish time, the traffic problems will be solved as school holidays prove. Man made global warming is a great way of raising yet more tax as a lot of experts are proving.
David Smith

Interesting that the majority of comments here are from car users upset about the impact on them personally. Understandable, but if you think bigger, this makes for a great illustration of how the current generation is unable to make even the smallest personal sacrifices now to give future generations some small chance of a world worth living in.

Mind you, I have self-interest too: I'm a public transport user whose journey into work is twice as slow as it should be thanks to the ridiculous quantities of cars coming into the city. When I've counted, there's rarely been more than one in ten with more than a single occupant. I'm no paragon: occasionally that's me, though rarely for the daily commute. But I do think we've got to do better than this: we have to accept the validity of "green taxes" designed to discourage such unsustainable behaviour and generate money for better alternatives. And I do think you have to question the environmental credentials of a company like Boots if they act to avoid it.

The only valid argument against the WPL here comes from those who question its impact on the city's economy, and the risk of Nottingham going it alone without similar schemes being adopted in the country at large. Clearly the City Council hasn't made this case to everyone's satisfaction and it would be preferable if central government took a lead nationally. But then we get what we vote for, and it would be a brave politician who championed green taxes across the board going into a general election, if the general short-sightedness on display here is any guide.
Graham

I believe it is wrong to tax an employee for arriving at work by car when the public transport on offer is not sufficient enough to carry the amount of passengers now - never mind from 2012 onwards. £253 spread over a year is not too bad compared to over inflated bus fares, and watch out because they will rise as will the trams!
Valerie

People, this is very simple to fix. in the coming local and national elections you simple question each party that dares to show there face at your door what they intend to do about this levy (tax). if they dont give the right answer simply inform them you will not vote for them, if that means no party gets any votes then maybe thats how it has to be. remember THEY WORK FOR US. oh and just a question, do council staff and management and COUNCILLORS have to pay for their spaces in the numerous council only carparks in the city centre? hmmmmm... what do you think!
Andy

I work at the University of Nottingham and I have two problems with the WPL. Why should car owners subsidise the Tram network? A facility I dont and wont use as it doesn't go anywhere near where I live. How can the University of Nottingham charge all car owners for a parking space when it hasn't got enough parking bays? I don't pay for goods that I don't receive in shops - so why should I pay for a parking space I may not get?

The only fair option at the University would be to have parking meters, then at least if you can't find a place you don't pay.
Jeremy Tribbick

It's going to be interesting to see how many medium and large size businesses leave Nottingham soon after this Levy is introduced, what company can sustain this amount of on cost?

The damage this will do to Nottingham's already fragile manufacturing industry will be irreversible and will be felt for generations.

If some Companies do decide to stay and pass the cost onto Employees, lots of these Employees will have to give up working as they may not be in a position to afford such an expense, then this adds to the already number of people who find it too penalising to be in regular Employment.
Bill

It seems just about feasible for inner city Nottingham, where there are generally reasonable public transport links from all the areas people live in, but the places out of the central city like Boots, Riverside Retail Park etc. aren't exactly major causes of congestion, and are much less served by public transport.
B Walker

I live in Carlton and I don't suppose that a tram will ever get to Carlton Square, but as I work in Derby I will not be paying towards the tram via my car which I use to get to and from work. I think that some of the bigger companies will leave Nottingham City area and relocate elsewhere, I also think that Boots will move their car park so that it is in the County and access via the Beeston gate, this will entail a longer drive for the workforce and cause hold ups on Beacon Road/Humber Road. I think we as Council Tax payers will end up paying for the tram extensions whether we get a tram to our area of the County or not.
Terry Knight

Does anybody know whether this scheme applies to disabled people too? My wife is disabled and we both car share on a motability car.
Al
(People with disabilities are exempt the WPL)

Rip Off Britain!! Yet another example of the endless taxation of the middle working class. I can't wait to move from Nottingham and this country which is being ran by money grabbing politcians. This parking levy wouldn't even cover their expences. Makes me sooooooo mad!!
Nick Tyers

It would be nice if we had decent, co-ordinated public transport in place before they even consider this action. Going out in the evenings can be very expensive, would people be able to use their parking space out of working hours ?? I doubt it. The Park & Rides finish far too early and the tram is often very over loaded and the buses just do not run at the times the theatres and cinemas are emptying, so we are faced with a further parking charge. We cannot have the trams in Gedling, why should I pay twice ( day & evenings)for others to benefit?
Sonia Boultby

The point missed is that the money raised by the wpl is to improve transport. It is ring fenced. If you still need to use your car after public transport is improved you will find less traffic on the roads and so get into work easier. You benefit as a non-user of public transport.

The thought that someone will pay hundreds of pounds a month to rent a drive to avoid paying £28 per month in wpl doesn't bear scrutiny. Similarly why should someone park in a street outside the area then pay £3 return fare on the bus simply to avoid paying the £1 wpl?

What it may do is encourage car share.
Steve

I am completely against this tax it is another example of how road users have been repeatedly robbed by all parties,I will not vote for Labour in the local elections in May,I will vote for which ever party says they will get rid of it, even if it means the tram extension does not go ahead.
Anthony Eden

Thanks to my local council, I now have to pay to park at my local shops in Mapperley (so I don't shop there any more) - and now my employer is likely to charge me to park at my workplace (meaning I now have to get 2 buses to work). Seeing as my car use will now plummit - perhaps I could get an appropriate discount on my car tax?
Andi

What do you propose to do with the extra congestion of traffic and parking caused by the parking level in Nottingham in West Bridgford.
ST Burgess

Unsurprisingly, all but one comment below it anti WPL. This is true public opinion and the council, who are meant to enact the will of the people, should take note, all to often we hear how the council canvas 'public representatives'; but these are only wannabe councillors anyway and do not represent the wishes of the tax payer. The council always seem to quote how 'traders' say it will 'affect business' then dismiss it as nonsense, my personal experience is that over the last 10 years surrounding councils, Derby, Lincoln, etc. have made parking more difficult or expensive and these are now town/cities that I and most of the people I know will never go to again - so much for not affecting business. As others have commented, businesses will leave the City, people will stop visiting the City and then the City dies. The tram represents all that is wrong with this country at the present, our hard earned money is being used for 'award winning projects' who's only purpose is to provide awards and accolades for the council leaders. This country belongs to the people and not the Council/Government, they are just the hired help (and well paid to).
Barry Hunter

I feel the Levy is intrinsically unfair and badly biased against the ordinary worker based in the City. They invariably have no other source of transport other than their car to get to work because the buses or trams go nowhere near their work. Doctors, Lawyers, Judges who have their practices in the City and who should be paying will not pay a penny for their big gas guzzling cars. Totally unfair and this anomoly must be rectified. Everyone should pay or no-one.
J. Bryant

This will kill nottingham and if it comes into force here then other councils will do it as well. How about asking the workers and residents of nottingham what they want.
J. Slater

I think its ridiculous. Why spend that much a year just for a parking space and to pay for 2 more trams?... they should use the money for people that are ill in hospital or charities. the more they spend the tax we pay.
Louise Hall

Nottingham City Council is virulently opposed to car owners and drivers. As a result of its ludicrous policy of making it impossible to drive into or through, let alone park in, the city centre the latter is becoming a shell. No prestigious company can be persuaded to open in Nottingham. The WPL is just another manifestation of NCC's hatred of motorists/the middle classes, which will in the end wreck the city centre.
J Thomas

I live seven miles from my work and can do this journey in 20 minutes, even at rush hour. If i use the bus system it can take two hours each way. My choice will be spend up to four hours a day travelling 14 miles to and from work or parking on the road with everybody else. I can't see public transport winning.
Steve Morris

Just another money making scheme to get extra revenue for the councils. Basically, broken rip-off Britain. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the greed and uncaring attitude of councils who do not consider value of life in any part of any of their policies.
Gary Finnigan

Call it what you will this is a tax on working people in this city. The consultation process may meet guidelines set by Government but how many were really consulted? I fully expect my employer to transfer the tax to me. In that case I, and all others in a similar position, will be paying for a space at work. It is obvious that I will therefore use it. On that basis any suggestion that this will aid congestion is flawed. It will keep me in my car.
Robert Taylor

The reason Nottingham City Council wants to bring in more trams is to ease congestion. This congestion has been caused by them. Firstly, they remove one lane from most of the arterial routes into Nottingham. Then they phase traffic lights so it slows the traffic. Ask them to run a three month trial of removing bus lanes and then let us talk about congestion. Why should I have to pay for someone else to get from A to B? I pay numerous taxes through my car, way in excess of what is put back into the roads.
Brian Robinson

What business will come to Nottingham to pay an extra tax? How many businesses, when their lease expires, will take the opportunity to get out of Nottingham. Our tram obsessed council is loosing the plot. Of all the things they should be doing ( lobbying for the widening of the A 453, sorting out our local schools miserable performance etc) they seem to put all their energy in to the tram extension under the misapprehension it will reduce traffic. We all know however quieter roads just encourage more traffic.
Mike Green

The whole idea is monstrously unjust. A worker uses a parking space provided in a private arrangement from their employer , presumably because public transport is unsuitable. This is being used as a basis to extort a considerable sum of money to be spent on a tram system which by definition they won't use.
Orson Carte

I am dead against such a tax. Surely it would deter any new businesses from moving to Nottingham and possibly encourage existing companies to relocate elsewhere. If funds are needed to expand the tram system, they should be funded by increasing tram fares ie the people who use the network. I don't think it is fair to expect people who don't live anywhere near a tram line to pay.
Alan Fedko

Boots are right. How dare the council tax hard working people to pay for a scheme that they will likely never use. Will the trams run 24/7 to cater for shift workers ? I doubt it.
Karl Moore

I would like to say well done to Boots for their imaginative and inventive scheme intended to benefit their employees and punish the City Council. It is about time that employers, employees and residents stood up for themselves and taught the politicians a lesson.

Improved public transport services and the extension of the tram network in particular are very important and I support attempts to improve them. However, we should not be held to ransom by egotistical politicians who will not listen.
Ian Carroll

I back the WPL and will boycott Boots. I will boycott Boots until they change their ethics towards local communities, taxation and public transport.
Chris Matthews

The obvious next step is a domestic parking levy, payable by all residents whose houses have one or more parking spaces. Say £200 per space per annum.
L Riley

I have been reading about the WPL. Quite frankly it is disgusting! If I was an employer, in the city centre paying council and business rates as well as the up keep in my premises, this charge would make me move the business to another town.

How often do the councillors catch a bus? From my admittedly limited experience, I find most public transport staff rude, offensive and below the standard that is seen in other countries. I hope that businesses withdraw from Nottingham in protest at this unfair charge.

As a teacher I will not be seeking any employment in a city centre school knowing it's highly likely that I will be having to pay to park at work.
Jonathan Burrows




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