Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 24, 2017

Enforcement Cameras And Car Parking In Ormskirk, The Alternative View

From Cllr John Hodson  “I feel obliged to respond via the right to reply on the ‘latest’ from the OWLs re car parking in Ormskirk. It seems that Cllr Owens wants to be both soothsayer and bringer of all happenings within West Lancashire.

“His outrageous statement on the ANPR option was the most scurrilous and irresponsible piece of electioneering, designed to whip up public agitation against something that was not even remotely going to happen.

“This latest claim from OWL is that they somehow have wrung a resounding victory over secret plans to impose draconian measures against car parking visitors to Ormskirk. This is rubbish. Cllr Owens is attempting to deploy some of the shadier dark arts of PR learned and crafted during his many years as a prominent member of West Lancashire Conservatives where he seeks to demonstrate his ‘predictive powers’ of political issues with a miraculous ‘I have achieved an outcome’ result.

“How wondrous! How influential! He is not. He has not sought a single conversation with me over the car parking issue with Ormskirk. Full stop. He is uninformed on the topic and is merely using the issue to grandstand. The ‘Bemrose’ facility was only one of many considerations being explored and was not even remotely close to being adopted. For the avoidance of doubt I attach a copy of my speech to Full Council which accompanied my successful Amendment to Cllr Owens’ Motion which was resoundingly defeated”.

Speech to Amendment Agenda item 18a) Full Council 19/7/2017

Cllr. JE Hodson: “On this side of the Council we welcome any genuine efforts which would lead to an improvement in its parking offer. Since the Labour Group’s proposal for a ‘Free after 3’ whilst in opposition, things have significantly progressed following Labour forming the first such Administration for some 13 years.

The Council currently provides 30 minutes free on the Derby Street car park Monday to Friday, 1 hour free on the Park Road car park Monday to Saturday, 4 hours free on the Derby Street car park on a Saturday and a part refund of the parking fee to users of the Park Pool facility Monday to Friday. It’s also worth noting that parking is free on all Council car parks after 5:30pm whereas many authorities charge until 6 – 6:30pm and others charge 24/7.

The Council currently provides 30minutes free on the Derby St. car park Monday to Friday, I hour free on the Park Rd. car park Monday to Saturday, 4 hours free on the Derby St. car park on a Saturday and a part refund of the fee to users of the Park Pool facility Monday to Friday.

It’s also worth noting that parking is free on all Council car parks after 5.30 pm whereas many authorities charge until 6-6.30pm and others charge 24/7. Once we formed the Labour Administration, Ormskirk Town Centre became a priority and in-depth consultation within the community and businesses was implemented and indeed is continuing today in the form of the Town Centre Management Group and with ongoing monitoring.

Work undertaken by Officers has indicated that there is no clear consensus amongst businesses that ‘Free’ parking as suggested, is the answer to drawing more people into Ormskirk. The reason being that car parking charges in Ormskirk are relatively cheap compared to other centres and have remained at the same price for years. ‘Free’ parking is likely to lead to displacement of current users who would delay their visit rather than attract new visitors, which the Town needs.

For some businesses the issue is more around people being able to ‘top up’ their time if they wish to stay longer, thus the need for greater choice and flexibility has emerged through consultation. We are currently finalizing the details, specifications and costings for the replacement of our existing car park ticket machines with the latest more advanced machines, which will allow sustainable alternatives to cash payents i.e. contactless card payments, mobile phone payments.

Car park users could register in advance to take advantage of some of the new initiatives on offer and these additional facilities we believe would be of great benefit to regular car park users and also attract new users to the Town. The new generation of machines can also offer additional functionality such as LCD advertising screens and voucher printing, which town centre businesses could take advantage of by agreeing promotional offers for shopping discounts and full or part refunds of parking charges, etc. The issue of car parking is rather complex by nature and we need to be very careful before introducing measures, which could have a negative impact. There are also Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s), which require consultation with the public before any changes can be introduced. To make the changes in accordance with the motion, it’s unlikely that it would be in place by 1st September 2017.

In short, the motion before us has an inbuilt obsolescence and is more than covered by work all ready underway. Given the excellent work by Officers to date, in conjunction with the Ormskirk Town Centre Strategy, we will produce a car parking package to the best advantage for all, far exceeding the proposals outlined within the Motion, through a much more collaborative and interactive engagement with the community,

I move the Amendment as provided”


  1. I don’t trust anything where they hide behind private and confidential reports. Publish the original cabinet papers Cllr Hodson. There can be no commercial confidentiality any longer as the negotiations have ended can there? So please publish here and then we as residents can form a view.

  2. Thanks. I’ve read that. The Bemrose option was clearly the horse they were riding but I’d like to see the report that officers put to Cllr Hodson and his colleagues.
    If you look at Bemrose’s website their so-called Intelligent Enforcement sounds just like the kind of thing Cllr Owens was describing.
    The council should publish the original cabinet papers then we can see a fuller picture. No need to hide behind commercial confidentiality now.

    • I agree with you. Commercial in Confidence is, by any other name, hiding the truth. Just look at the Beacon Park Golf Course for which a company has taken huge sums of landfill money as shareholder funds yet the whole saga stinks to high heaven due to the lack of public transparency.

  3. As a councillor, I have had the good fortune to be able to read the private and confidential cabinet report. I would simply ask John Hodson if he would confirm whether the cabinet report indicated that there would be a financial benefit to the council from agreeing a contract with Bemrose.

    • Cllr Hodson has attempted to reply but the WLR comments section has a glitch. His response is as follows “Councillor Owens, as you well know, I (and therefore you also) are bound by confidentiality about the report as parking matters are still currently being explored. You well know the contents of the report and I, unlike you will not attempt to exert an advantage over members of the public by distorting the content for political purposes”.

    • As we still have a comments glitch I publish the following response from Cllr John Hodson “In Cllr Owens’ latest piece of fiction via a press release where he yet again tries to claim the credit for something which he had not the slightest influence in, he misleads the public yet again. He makes reference to the OWL petition and alludes to the fact that it was the cause of the ‘Bemrose’ option being dropped along with the statement, quote: “The scheme had first been approved by the Labour cabinet in a confidential agenda item in January”. He states that he has had sight of the confidential report and so must be in the full knowledge that his above statement is false. He should apologise.

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