Thorndon & Weald Country Parks parking charges

November 19, 2009 8:58 PM
Beautiful Thorndon Country Park

Beautiful Thorndon Country Park

The introduction of pay and display car parking charges in Weald and Thorndon Country parks back in December 2003 caused a lot of local anger and frustration amongst park users, particularly those living in Brentwood.

Many residents feel they are already paying a considerable amount of council tax to Essex and then being asked to pay again when they want to use their beautiful Country Parks. The Liberal Democrats have always said that Brentwood residents should not have to pay to park in their own Country Parks but we appreciate the difficulty of achieving that objective in the current economic climate.

At a meeting of Brentwood Borough Council's Health Housing and Leisure Panel (18/11/09) the car parking charges were discussed and members were asked to consider the options that were available so that suggestions could be put forward to the next meeting of the Joint Committee for Country Parks and Estate.

During the discussion Cllr Kendall put forward the following motion which after much debate and an amendment was given unanimous support by the members of the panel:

1. That for a trial period of one year, all types of car parking charges for the Weald and Thorndon Country Parks should be reduced by 50% to try and encourage greater usage of the parks by existing and new park users.

2. That more large scale events should be planned particularly for Weald Country Park to raise more income for the sole use of the parks.

3. If there was a shortfall in the overall income to the parks from car parking charges and an increased programme of commercial events then the proposal would need to be underwritten by the County Council, as Brentwood is not in a position to do so.

The aim of the Liberal Democrat motion was to try and encourage much greater usage of the parks by all residents from Brentwood and beyond.

At the meeting members also expressed a desire to see a reduction in car parking charges for pensioners. Cllr Kendall and Cllr Chilvers fully supported that stance and hoped that it would also be addressed by the Joint Committee.

Ideally this trial would only be available to Brentwood residents to minimise the financial risk and to meet the strong call we have had locally to reduce and ultimately scrap charges. However the practicalities of introducing the measure just for Brentwood residents in the short term would be difficult to overcome as we have no way of identifying where the park users are from if they are just paying the daily charge.