A PEACEFUL protest march against planned parking charges in West Kirby will take place in the town this Saturday.

Under council proposals, subject to public consultation, motorists parking on South Parade alongside the town's Marine Lake would be charged £1 for an hour, £2 all day or £20 to do so overnight.

Church Road Residents' Action Group fears that the tariffs - currently subject to public consultation - would lead to the town's downfall if implemented.

It has organised a petition against the scheme, which has been signed by hundreds of people.

As part of the campaign, a public meeting will take place at Melrose Hall in Hoylake on Saturday at 11am for people to raise concerns.

It will be followed, at 3pm, by a protest march, starting at Dee Lane car park in West Kirby and continuing along South Parade.

Encouraging our readers to take part, group spokesperson Ruth Trout told the Globe this afternoon: "It's a peaceful protest with a clear message for the council, that parking charges are not wanted in West Kirby."

The group believes such charges would cause immense damage to local businesses and residents, lead to congestion in neighbouring side roads and affect visitor numbers to the seaside town.

Mrs Trout told the Globe last week: "As a resident of a side road off South Parade in West Kirby, I am extremely concerned about the council’s short sighted plan to implement parking charges on South Parade.

"Our side roads are already congested making it difficult for residents to park and this has been compounded by the recent new parking restrictions on Banks Road therefore even more cars being parked on the side roads.

"There are residents in the who live in a street affected by the proposals and they’re not even aware that we are in this consultation period.”

To sign the petition, go to www.wirral.gov.uk/parking. The West Kirby scheme code is TO/18/08

Urging readers to sign the petition, Mrs Trout - who lives in nearby Church Road - continued: “If people don’t act and make this council aware of their opposition, then this scheme may well go ahead. If enough people do object then, I think, we can turn this around.

“The council appears to have done this in isolation without regard to the impact on residents and local businesses.

“The council’s consultation process runs until June 22, but there is little information from the council to ensure awareness for those who will be potentially impacted by said proposals.

“We think the council should visit the area to fully appreciate the chaos and disruption and risks they will cause by implementing these proposals.

“I really don’t see how this can work. The plans haven’t been thought out.

“As a resident and someone who loves West Kirby I think it’s important that West Kirby continues to thrive.

“But by putting these parking charges in place it could be the downfall of the town as we know it.”

Husband Simon added: “The biggest problem for residents would be trying to find somewhere to park day and night and the council’s intention to charge £20 a night to park on the prom.

“There’s been no clarity on the basis for the charges or how the council has arrived at the scheme that suits everyone in the town.

“These plans have appeared out of the blue as a way to try and raise money to fill some of the gaps caused by Government cuts.

“This isn’t the right way to go about it.”

Mrs Trout's concerns are shared by Christine Thompson, who lives in Alexandra Road and says the charges would increase congestion problems already experienced in the street.

She added: “A lot of the girls who work in nearby beauty shops park in my road and at night, people working in restaurants park there also.

"So, if I have to park on prom I will have to remember to remove it by 10pm or face being charged.

"It may well be that this is aimed at camper vans that are parked there overnight.

"For £20 they could go to Thurstaston and park."

Joe McGilivray, also from Church Road, said: "Currently, they have just parking restrictions on the other side of Banks Road, which runs parallel to the roads branching off South Parade.

"So, now all of these residents have the impact of all the shops, all visitors to West Kirby.

"On a Bank Holiday it’s almost impossible to park at times.

"There are young people with children who can’t even park outside their own homes sometimes.

"You also have people driving around trying to find a space to park, which raises two safety issues.

"The first is that your attention may go off the road as you look for a space.

"Secondly, you could cause damage to other cars while trying to squeeze into a parking space.

"Local businesses are thriving at the moment, but all that could change if these charges are implemented.

"It could lead to vacant shops which, in turn, means the council would lose business rates and the Government would lose tax as a result."

A Council spokesperson told the Globe: "We are consulting with residents on the proposals to introduce new parking charges.

"Residents have the opportunity to share their views as part of this process and all feedback will be taken into account before any decision is made."

West Kirby Conservative councillor Gerry Ellis, who has helped organise Saturday's meeting, said: "The planned charges are ridiculous.

"It's an outrage that people could be charged to park on the promenade"