A former President of the Norton Radstock Chamber of Commerce has written in to our letters column offering some advice on what to do next if they would like to contest the Council's proposal of implementing parking charges in the Somer Valley.

In reference to your article, on Page 4 of last week’s Journal edition No. 2,215, regarding B&NES plans to introduce charging for using the public car parks in Midsomer Norton and Radstock. In the mid-1980s, I would advise your readers, as follows.

I was President of the Norton Radstock Chamber of Commerce; succeeding from Terry Towler and Preceding Shirley Steel. My presidency was at the time of The Hollies redevelopment and the then Wansdyke District Council felt that it would be a good idea to institute car parking charges in our towns. I met with the Council and, after what was a sometimes heated discussion, they accepted that there would be no charges for the use of the Public Car Parks in our two towns. The argument that I put forward was that the building of new Safeway supermarket (now Sainsbury’s), which involved the sacrifice of the Hollies public open gardens, should not be a reason to introduce public car parking charges, to the detriment of the other traders in the town, a town which then enjoyed historical free car parking.

Wansdyke District Council’s area became part of B&NES but the new Council were, surely, the inheritors of the agreement that the Norton Radstock Chamber of Commerce had negotiated with the former Local Authority.

I would therefore ask that the current presidents, of the local Chambers of Commerce, refer B&NES back to what was agreed during my term as President. The relevant agreement should, I hope, have been the subject of the minutes of the Chamber and also in the archives of Wansdyke District Council, which B&NES should now hold.

David M. P. Simmonds, Midsomer Norton