Sunday parking charge at Town Hall scrapped

May 20, 2009 9:26 PM
In Brentwood Gazette
Nigel Clarke, Linda Price, Cllr Ross Carter, Cllr Karen Chilvers, Cllr David Kendall and Cllr Barry Aspinell collecting petition signatures in the car park on Saturday 25th April 2009

Nigel Clarke, Linda Price, Cllr Ross Carter, Cllr Karen Chilvers, Cllr David Kendall and Cllr Barry Aspinell collecting petition signatures in the car park on Saturday 25th April 2009

SUNDAY parking charges at Brentwood Town Hall are to be scrapped after a dramatic council U-turn.

Previously, Brentwood council agreed to bring in charges at the Town Hall's two free car parks, causing mass public protest.

But now it's announced the charges will be scrapped on Sundays with immediate effect, and furthermore it will look to scrap the Saturday charges as well.

Brentwood Borough Council leader Cllr Louise McKinlay said: "Our key aim is that we maintain our frontline services, improve value for money and give the residents what they want.

"Charges for the Sunday parking will no longer apply and I hope we will be able to review the Saturday charges as well."

Cllr Russell Quirk, who has been appointed chairman of the environment and parking management panel, added: "With the small amount of income that may derive from the new weekend charges I think we should look at finding this income from somewhere else by digging a bit deeper.

"Then we can provide the benefits of the free car park at weekends, which residents and shoppers have enjoyed."

The news has been welcomed by the Liberal Democrats, who collected more than 200 signatures in a petition against the proposed weekend charges at the Ingrave Road car parks.

Party leader Cllr David Kendall said: "This is a great victory for the many local residents who use the town hall car park at the weekend to go shopping and go to church.

"Many of them were very angry at the prospect of having to pay to park, particularly on a Sunday which was their day of worship and the Conservatives had little choice but to back down and make Sunday parking free.

"We will now continue with our campaign to get the parking charges scrapped on a Saturday and would urge any residents who support us to sign our petition located at The Hair Company in Crown Street."

Lin Heath, owner of French Quarter in Crown Street, Brentwood, welcomed the council U-turn on Sunday parking and backed calls to see the Saturday charges scrapped as well.

She said about half of the shops in the town centre were actually closed on Sundays, including French Quarter, and she ideally would like to see town centre car parks providing free parking throughout the whole weekend.

"Anything that encourages or entices more customers to the town has to be a good thing," she said.

"In the current climate, we need all the help we can get to bring more people in to spend more in Brentwood."