Censorship claim after Claygate campaigners' banner withdrawn
Surrey County Council has been accused of censorship after taking down an anti parking charges banner.
The banner in The Parade in Claygate, which read: “Claygate says no to parking charges”, was put up by the Claygate Village Association charity on March 13.
But when the charity asked SCC for permission to extend the time the banner could stay installed beyond March 31, the council refused.
Elmbridge Councillor Michael Courtney, who supported the erection of the banner, said SCC had objected to the continuation because of the message.
He said: “This is censorship. When the charity went back to the council to agree a continuation, the council told them they would have to take it down instead.
“The council then said they should never have allowed the banner to be put up in the first place. The idea that people are only allowed to put banners up in favour of SCC policies is ridiculous. They just want to stop our campaign.”
Surrey County Council (SCC) wants to raise up to £2.5m by implementing parking fees in 3,500 on-street parking spaces across Surrey over the next 12 months and is looking at introducing the scheme in Elmbridge as early as next month.
It would see drivers being charged between 60p and £1.40 an hour to park in the bays.
Two men, working for SCC, took the banner down on Wednesday, April 6, after the Claygate Village Association refused to do so.
A spokesman for the council admitted the authority had originally given permission for the banner to be erected but refused to comment on the reasons behind the decision not to grant it an extension.
The spokesman said: “We allow banners to be placed on the roadside for short periods of time to support communities when they hold events such as flower shows or fetes.
“We were asked if a banner could be put up along The Parade between 13 March and 31 March and we agreed. Now that time is up we have taken the banner down.”
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