To most of us, the council is petty bureaucracy personified and the East Riding of Yorkshire County Council has certainly got Alvin Wilkinson wound up.

The council has decided to double parking fees where he trades, in the little seaside resort of Hornsea, whereas all the other villages, towns and resorts under its jurisdiction, like Withernsea and Cottingham, have been spared owing to the recession and general deprivation.

Says Alvin: “All the others have free parking and the same man made this decision for all of them. The council says it will keep traffic moving freely.” In Hornsea, the first half-hour is free, but then it’s £1 an hour (previously 50p).

Alvin has already had to contend with a Tesco around the corner (free parking, obviously). “I’m £1,200 a week down since Tesco opened,” he laments.

He reckons he is just about the only independent in the area paying any rates (and, on a reduced rate, that’s still £400 a month). All the others, he says, are rate-free, which proves something about tough times.

Alvin has already approached his local independent representative, but she says the council takes no notice of her. He has also rung his local paper.

I have suggested that he, and all the other traders affected by it, should set up a petition. Who wouldn’t put their signature on that? And they are all voters, too, so the council might take heed.

I was also impressed to hear that the local picture comprised a CTN, c-store, baker, greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger - not many places can boast that anymore. The council should be accentuating the positive and trying to preserve it.•