More than 200 say no to idea of parking charges in Norwich parks

Eaton Park.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Eaton Park could have parking charges introduced. - Credit: Archant

The suggestion that people could be forced to pay to park at two Norwich parks has prompted more than 200 people to say they are against the move.

Norwich City Council, facing a budget shortfall of nearly £2m, is considering whether to introduce charges at popular Eaton Park and Waterloo Park.

Drivers can currently park there for free, but City Hall says charging drivers to park could raise £50,000 a year - and help plug the funding gap.

But the Friends of Waterloo Park has put up posters urging people to oppose the scheme.

And, in a poll run on this newspaper's website, more than 80pc of people said they did not want to see parking charges introduced in the parks.

Almost 250 people had responded by 3pm and 82pc said they did not want parking charges introduced.

Sixteen per cent backed the introduction of the charges, while 2pc said they did not know or did not care.

Waterloo Park, Norwich.Picture: Nick Butcher

The Friends of Waterloo Park have urged people to object to the parking charges move. - Credit: Nick Butcher

There was mixed reaction to the idea of Waterloo Park parking charges from people living nearby.

Amy Jane posted on Facebook to say: "I live on Wild Road and it's already a nightmare getting in and out of the road when the park is busy in the summer months, this would make it all year round on those roads that are not permit parking."

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And Casey Cade said: "More parking on residential streets near the park blocking up people's houses."

But Matt White said he supported the charge, as the council should discourage car use.

He said: "My road is likely to suffer from some increased parking, hence I've been asking Norwich City Council to make my road a Controlled Parking Zone) but this policy is still a move in the right direction."

And Gabriella Ditton said: "I agree pavement parking is a massive problem, but should not be used an excuse not to charge people to park.

"If you're going to leave your massive personal property on public space, you should pay for it.

"Making parking free encourages driving, which in this day and age is a big no."

James Wright, Norwich City councillor for Eaton. Picture: Liberal Democrats

James Wright, Norwich City councillor for Eaton. Picture: Liberal Democrats - Credit: Lib Dems

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at City Hall and a city councillor for Eaton, said the introduction of charges at Eaton Park could reduce situations where jams build up in the car parks.

But he said it could lead to drivers seeking out spaces on nearby residential roads instead.

He said: "I've not had a lot of people contacting me about it yet. but there are various schools of thought on it.

"One is that, if you're a resident, then you may find people who would have paid will instead park outside your front door."

But he said it might, once the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed, encourage people to make more use of their own parks or use the bus to get to Eaton Park.

And readers have highlighted how what the council gains from parking charges could be lost in loss of revenue elsewhere.

Peter Peggs said: "They forget that if you play Pitch and Putt an adult will pay £6.80 or if you are a Go4less member £3.40 per round. Adding a parking fee makes it not sensible to play."

The city council says protecting Norwich through Covid-19 has meant spending more.

Yet it has been hit by a drop off in income from sources such as city centre parking and commercial rents, so needs to look at other ways to generate money.