PEOPLE are angry at parking charges set to be approved at a Wirral shopping district – with fears it will be "hugely damaging" for the area's businesses.

There are dozens of objections to enforcement firm ParkingEye's plans to retain its equipment including signs and cameras at the Home Bargains store in Moreton.

But the proposals are particularly controversial as ParkingEye already operate restrictions there and have handed out tickets prior to getting planning permission from the council, so many claim the charges are unlawful.

Plans for the store's large car park on Hoylake Road are set to be approved by the council's planning committee next week, with members recommended to give the green light.

But they're not without opposition, and a total of 28 objections across two different applications have been lodged against the plans, with local councillor Chris Blakeley set to represent them at next week's meeting.

Ahead of that, Cllr Blakeley, who represents the Moreton and Saughall Massie ward, told the Local Democracy Service: "We receive frequent complaints about the fines issued at this car park – many people assume it is a council car park.

"While we managed to stop car parking charges on council sites in Moreton, this site is privately owned and so out of the council's jurisdiction."

He made reference to the borough's development plan policy, which says plans should be accepted "provided they do not cause nuisance to neighbouring uses, or lead to a loss of amenity".

He added: "Well it's clear to me and residents who live nearby that restrictions on parking at this location forces motorists to park in already congested residential side roads, if that is not causing nuisance and or a loss of amenity I am not sure what is.

"It's only since concerns have been raised by drivers that the company running the site has submitted a planning application for the equipment.

"As the equipment has been in use for some time, surely the fines they have collected are invalid and should be refunded."

A local business owner, who did not want to be named, said he feared the move could "hugely damage" the numbers of people coming to the area

In the planning document to be discussed at the meeting next Thursday (February 14), approval is sought for the car parking management features, including a lighting column, cameras, bollards and signs at the 60-space facility.

But there are a total of 28 objections, which cite issues such as that limited free car parking will discourage people from shopping in Moreton, there will be more congestion problems on local roads, the "negative impact on community spirit" and that it will impact on the town centre’s “vitality”.

Local resident Steve Gee is another to have been given a fine he then disputed.

He said: "Parking meters would certainly deter me from shopping in Moreton.

"That said, if shoppers received a discount equivalent to the fee, it would make me more inclined to shop there or conversely less inclined to drive to [Junction One Retail Park in] Bidston.

"In many ways, issues with parking are affecting our high streets.

"It is driving people to out-of-town centres and people often forget the elderly or those that rely on public transport."

In December, ParkingEye came under fire when motorists given tickets claimed the firm didn't have permission to hand out the fines.

Local resident Mike Mcdonough told the Local Democracy Service his elderly mother-in-law is now anxious about going shopping after being slapped with an initial £60 fine.

He said she was given a ticket when visiting the store on Hoylake Road – despite displaying a disabled badge giving her three hours to park anywhere.

Mr Mcdonough added that she is now "really anxious about going shopping", and that she'll get a fine every time she does.

ParkingEye said it would not comment ahead of next week’s planning meeting.

When contacted for comment in December regarding motorists’ complaints over fines, a spokesman said: "ParkingEye are a member of the British Parking Association and operate a BPA audited appeals service and anyone who believes they have mitigating circumstances are encouraged to appeal."