Azara Blog: MacKay's complains about proposed introduction of "congestion charge"

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Date published: 2007/12/08

The Cambridge News says:

Another Cambridge company fears the introduction of a congestion charge could force it to move out of the city after nearly 100 years of trading.

Don MacKay, chairman of MacKay's, an East Road-based tool specialist, said: We might have to.

It is not a question of whether we want to.

Mr MacKay, 82, has been at the helm of the well-known firm for more than 50 years.

MacKay's customers include builders and tradesmen who rely on being able to pop in to his city centre store opposite The Grafton shopping centre.

He says if Cambridgeshire County Council introduces a £5 charge between 7.30am and 9.30am Monday to Friday, his customers could go elsewhere.

He said: Most of our customers are in the building trade. They come into us in the morning, get the stuff they need to do their job for the day. They are not going to want to pay an extra £5 a day to do that.

City solicitors Miller Sands has already left Cambridge after 80 years.

It said the prospect of the charge was the last straw and management made the decision to move to Impington in October.

This "congestion" (well, access) "charge" (well, tax), is likely to be set at £4 rather than £5, but that doesn't really make a difference to the argument. Needless to say, the council doesn't really care what the people think (unless they happen to agree with what it wants to do), but it does pay some attention to what business people say. One of the reasons the time is being set as 7.30 to 9.30 AM is because that won't really affect most of the retail trade, and that was done so that the council can buy off shops like John Lewis. (But this means that the council wants to screw workers, who make the country run, but not shoppers, who just spend money. Priorities, priorities.) Of course some shops do carry out trade early in the morning, so will suffer. Ridgeon's is another such business, and much bigger than MacKay's so likely to carry much more weight.

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