AFTER a dramatic u-turn by Wirral Council over plans to introduce coastal car parking charges, it’s now being asked whether the same could be done to those recently brought in at country parks.

The local authority’s leader on Tuesday announced he would scrap the controversial proposals for fees for parking in New Brighton, Hoylake and West Kirby after a strong public backlash.

But with similar charges only recently brought in for visitors to beauty spots including Wirral Country Park in Thurstaston and Royden Country Park in Frankby, has a precedent been set for those too, to be abolished?

Cllr Ian Lewis, leader of the opposition Conservative group on Wirral council, said the effect on charges on both promenades and country parks were “identical”.

He explained: “Charges discourage visitors, have a knock on effect for local small businesses and encourage more of those who do still visit to park in nearby roads instead, causing problems for people who live there.

“As the cabinet have now recognised the folly of parking charges around our coast and promenades, they must also recognise the same problems that have been caused at our country parks.

“The country parks and coastal areas are among the main attractions for visitors and highly valued by residents – to coin a phrase, they must be available for the many, not the few.”

The charges currently mean motorists at locations which also include Arrowe Country Park and Eastham Country Park, are charged 50p for the first hour, £1 for two hours and £2 for all day.

Like the coastal parking charges, they were met with significant opposition when first announced, with a protest and a petition of more than 16,000 names before being introduced in January.

But according to the council, it’s bad news for those visiting country parks, as there is no chance of a u-turn on those charges.

When contacted for comment, a local authority spokesman added: “The funding raised from charging for parking at country parks goes directly towards supporting maintaining the parks and keeping them open for residents to enjoy.

“The proposals were extensively consulted on last year, and they cannot be reversed now without making additional cuts to our parks services.”