Storm brews in Wirral over plan to bring in pay-and-display charges at country parks (From Wirral Globe)
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Storm brews in Wirral over plan to bring in pay-and-display charges at country parks
COUNCIL plans to introduce parking charges at Wirral’s country parks has created a storm in a tea garden in Eastham.
In just two days, more than 250 people have signed a protest petition against the proposed budget boost at the expense of the motoring public.
Pat Saxty, who runs The Mimosa Tea Garden at Eastham Country Park, said: “I feel very strongly that there will be a traffic risk.
“There is a bit of a bottle-neck here and the place is already chocker with cars. With the introduction of charges at the country park car park drivers will turn to parking in narrow Ferry Road even more.
“At the moment there is a lovely happy atmosphere, especially on sunny weekends. I fear this will all go. It is just another loss to our community.
Pat, who has been at The Mimosa more than 40 years, said: “I feel very strongly about it and so do my customers.”
Two senior councillors have clashed over the proposed parking charges.
Councillor Phil Gilchrist, leader of Wirral Liberal Democrats, said the move would create highway chaos.
He hit out at the ruling Labour group’s plan to make motorists pay for visiting the peninsula’s parks, claiming it was “ill-conceived and poorly thought through.”
The main car park near to the country park visitor centre, has around 70 spaces and Cllr Gilchrist said many people visiting the woodland for a stroll with their dogs would be hit by a daily penalty.
Councillor Gilchrist said: “These things are supposed to be out for realistic consultation. So far it doesn’t appear to have been successful. I can see problems and the Labour group should take note of them.”
But Cllr Harry Smith, council cabinet member for transport services, derided the claims.
He said: “If Cllr Gilchrist can see into the future with such preposterous statements, he is a remarkable man. Perhaps he can tell me what will win the 2.30 today.
“Once the measures are introduced after the budget has been agreed, the situation will be monitored by council staff and safety first will be a priority.”
The council - facing a £27.5m budget shortfall - says it will raise £100,000 from introducing car parking charges not just at Eastham but also at Fort Perch Rock, Royden Park, Wirral Country Park and Arrowe Country Park.
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