Dunno who the LibDem spokesman in today's Echo was, but it would appear that at least on some transport matters, a consensus is emerging.
Like Labour, the LibDems agree that car parking charges are necessary, whilst they should be structured to encourage people to browse in town centre shops. For that reason the Labour Council recently introduced its "third hour free" strategy in short stay car parks. We are also promoting "pay on exit" car parking in new developments. It would seem that LibDems also support our Park and Ride approach, although we may differ on details.
Of course, there should be a health warning to go with the LibDem announcement. They're sticking with their "revamped" bus station idea, when spending any money here would create a white elephant for Council Tax payers as the bus companies have made it clear they won't use it. And where would the money come for a a complete Park and Ride network? We have set aside £1 million for a single Park & Ride scheme in our Local Transport Plan which will run over the next 4 years. A complete network from scratch would break the bank.
The party who are seriously out of step, however, are the Conservatives. Their free car parking policy would cause massive congestion throughout the day without generating any extra trade for the town. They have consistently rubbished the Council's attempts to promote greener alternative forms of transport in the town. They recently were sceptical about Labour's Park and Ride initiative.
Nationally, the Tories are pretending that they believe in a green future for the country. At grassroots level however, it's clear they are as old-fashioned as ever. It's a case of say one thing, but do another.
For voters in next May's elections who are concerned about the environment and the legacy for our children the message is clear - Darlington Conservatives have nothing to offer you.