North Norfolk Lib Dems oppose controversial parking plans - and put forward solution for free spaces in North Walsham and Fakenham

Opponents to controversial plans to scrap free parking across north Norfolk have said the spaces should be placed in the hands of the towns affected - in a bid to prevent the proposals being brought in.

The district's Liberal Democrats have said North Walsham residents should be put in charge of the Mundesley Road and Midland Road car parks by handing them to the town council.

Under proposals being discussed by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) - which runs the area's car parks - season tickets would be introduced at the two Walsham facilities and at free spaces in Fakenham.

The authority also wants to hike parking charges in Cromer, Holt, Sheringham and Wells and introduce a �1 evening fee in a bid to help plug its �900,000 funding gap.

But the plans have met fierce opposition from businesses and workers and now the Lib Dems have voiced their anger against the proposed scheme.

Leader Virginia Gay said members agreed at a meeting yesterday that they could not support the plans.

'We do not believe that now is the time to remove spending power from our local economy. We don't believe that ratcheting up these charges is good for either jobs or business.'

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Mrs Gay added: 'We also have a remedy for the currently free car parks. If the conservative run council doesn't want to run any free car parks then they should hand them back to the towns and parishes from which they come.

'That would be a local solution, local town councils running local car parks.'

Wyndham Northam, district councillor with the responsibility for car parks, said those against the proposals should write to Jill Fisher, assets manager at NNDC, by February 23.

? North Norfolk's Labour group has also spoken out against the plans and put forward an alternative scheme to increase parking charges in the summer - passing the cost onto tourists - and decrease them in the winter.

Members have also invited NNDC leader Helen Eales to discuss the plans with them ahead of a full council meeting later this month, where the budget and parking charges will be discussed.

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