Parking charges for two Norwich parks could be in place by end of year
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Parking charges could be in place in two of Norwich's parks before the end of the year, council leaders have said.
Norwich City Council sparked anger earlier this year when it announced it was considering introducing charges at Eaton Park and Waterloo Park.
The Labour-run council, wrestling with a budget shortfall, said charges could raise £50,000 a year and help plug its funding gap.
When the council agreed its budget in February, the £50,000 was factored in for financial planning.
The idea sparked opposition from people, including The Friends of Waterloo Park, who fear it will see drivers parking in nearby residential streets.
People in Eaton had similar concerns and Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for the ward, questioned what progress had been made over establishing the costs and holding public consultation.
Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "The council has identified the key milestones that need to be completed before we can implement charges for parking in our parks.
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"These milestones include conducting stakeholder consultation, options appraisal on payment methods, and finalising projected income and expenditure, including start up costs.
"Much of this work will be carried out as part of an integrated approach to the introduction of cashless parking at our other off street and on street parking sites.
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"Resources for this work are being allocated, and this work will be completed over the summer for a decision by cabinet in early autumn.
"It is anticipated that full implementation will be achieved by the end of this calendar year."
Mrs Lubbock said slow progress suited people in the area as the proposal was "very, very unpopular".
She asked if consultation revealed a "similar negative response" whether the council's cabinet would scrap the idea.
Mr Packer said if the Lib Dems could suggest a way to generate £50,000, instead of introducing charges, he would be "more than happy to listen".
Earlier, this year, of more than 900 people who responded to a poll about possible parking charges on this newspaper's website, just over 770 said they did not want charges.