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Thousands sign petitions against Wirral car park charging proposal
Mounting opposition to the proposed introduction of parking charges at New Brighton Fort Perch Rock and Wirral’s country parks has been triggered by a public consultation exercise.
Forced to make savings of £27.5m over the next couple of years Wirral Council carried out a comprehensive consultation exercise to test reaction across the peninsula to proposed budget measures.
Protest against the plan to charge motorists for parking in local beauty spots and recreation areas flooded into the council via letters and emails.
Petitions calling for a rethink were signed by more than 7,000 people, including representations from the Friends of Royden Park Group and objections lodged in connection with Eastham Ferry and “other country parks.”
Two months ago more than 250 people signed a protest petition in just two days over fears that the introduction of parking fees at Eastham Country Park would lead to traffic log-jams on approach roads.
Cllr Phil Gilchrist , leader of Wirral Liberal Democrats, said the move would create highway chaos.
He claimed that the ruling Labour group’s plans to make motorists pay for visiting the peninsula’s parks was “ill-conceived and poorly thought through.”
A recent report showed that revenue from council car parks was heading for a huge drop following increases in pay and display charges.
It forecast a 2013/14 shortfall on car parking income of £350,000. It blamed a series of factors including strong opposition in some areas from off-street private parking contractors and a decrease in car use as people found other forms of transport.
The report also indicated “a general borough-wide decline” in car parking ticket sales.
Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies pledged that all comments would be borne in mind when the ruling group reviewed the option of charging for parking in country parks.
Cllr Harry Smith, cabinet member for transport services, said that once the measures had been introduced after the budget had been agreed, the situation would be monitored and safety first would be a priority.
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