Stoke-on-Trent City Council wants pay-and-display charges at Westport Lake
More than 1,500 people are fighting council attempts to introduce pay-and-display parking at a Stoke-on-Trent beauty spot.
They have signed an online petition in protest at Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s plans to bring in parking charges at Westport Lake, near Tunstall.
It is one half of a double whammy for motorists as the authority also looks to bring in charges at Hanley’s Central Forest Park as part of attempts to raise £570,000 in 2018/19.
The Westport Lake protest comes as residents on the housing estate surrounding the attraction have complained about visitors parking outside their homes when the car park is busy.
Petition organiser June Cartwright, of Tellwright Street, Burslem, who runs the Our Burslem community group, said: “This proposed charge will impact on families struggling for money who want to visit Westport Lake as well as people living in the nearby houses.
“Some visitors don’t care where they park as long as they can find somewhere to avoid paying and the residents will suffer because of that. That is why we have launched the petition.”
Regular visitor Dave Bailey, aged 76, said: “I come here three times a week and I do not think people should have to pay to park. I do not think it is fair on us to have to pay or on the people who live nearby because people will park in their streets.
“I resent paying for parking because I already pay my rates to cover recreation and I do not think the council should be making people pay to come here. I feel sorry for the people in the visitors’ centre and the knock-on effect it will have on them.”
Residents living near the site have already successfully campaigned for parking restrictions outside their homes after some streets resembled a car park. It has banned parking in those areas between March and September.
Amanda Crowther said: “I can understand why people want to go to Westport Lake and it is good to see people enjoying themselves. It is always well used, and come the first sunny day of the summer it is always packed and I can see why.
“There are markings down already to stop people parking but if it is busy people still park on these streets. I think there will be people who will refuse to pay the parking charges and will park here instead.”
Neighbour Cheryl Everard, aged 40, said: “Parking charges could put people off coming and that means more people stuck indoors. Also other people could be put off by the charges and go elsewhere or park in neighbouring residential streets.”
The council is currently consulting residents over its 2018/19 budget and the consultation ends on Monday.
To sign the petition, click here: