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Traders in Wednesbury are bemused by the timing of a consultation over parking charges – they’re not being allowed to meet key councillors until two days after the Cabinet takes its crucial vote on the subject.

Sandwell Council is planning to introduce the new fees in all six of the borough’s towns, and in Wednesbury – where it’s still possible to park free in streets close to the centre – there’s been a hostile reception, with 8,000 people signing a petition against the plan.

Locals fear shoppers will try and avoid the charges by clogging up residential streets, while traders are worried that if their customers are going to have to pay to park, they’ll choose to head into Birmingham or Wolverhampton instead.

Cabinet Officer for Communities Mahboob Hussain and his officers have magnanimously agreed to meet the shop owners to discuss these concerns – but not until 26 June. They’ll also be meeting older residents at the offices at Agewell on the same day.

Er, unfortunately, that’s two days after Hussain’s Cabinet colleagues take the crucial vote on whether or not the charges should be introduced.


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