Having children is an expensive business. 

From paying for clubs and nursery fees to getting new clothes and admission fees to visitor attractions, the costs can be eye-wateringly pricey. 

And as a parent of a four-year-old and seven-year-old, I know how difficult it is forking out money for little ones while the cost of living crisis rages on. 

That is why a trip to the park is so important and valuable to parents because it often means you can get out of the house and let your children burn off excess energy without spending a penny. 

Getting out and about in our parks is also important for everyone’s mental and physical health, which was proved in the Covid pandemic. 

Norwich Evening News: The centre of Eaton Park in NorwichThe centre of Eaton Park in Norwich (Image: Kellie Howard)

That is why I was disappointed to see that parking charges had been introduced at Eaton Park in Norwich. 

I was also not the only parent who shared this view because it has been a hotly debated topic on the parenting online forums and Facebook groups with many people in shock over the charges. 

READ MORE: Eaton Park charges worry Norwich footballers and boat club

The decision to introduce paid-for parking was made after a lengthy Norwich City Council consultation process, with a basic charge of £2 for four hours starting at midday on March 25. 

I understand that councils need to raise money and central government funds are a challenge, but introducing a car parking charge at Eaton Park is a blow to many who appreciate our green spaces. 

It is also not only parents who love visiting the park because many groups who use the space fear the effect of charges. 

There is also a major concern people will park in the surrounding streets which would create congestion. 

Free parking is key to people enjoying our green spaces and should remain for the health of our communities.