Crawley Borough Council has been accused of being “greedy” after receiving permission to charge for the use of one of its car parks.
Charges will be introduced at the Fishermen’s Car Park, in Tilgate Park, within the next few weeks after the borough council’s request to do so was approved by members of the East Crawley County Local Committee.
Committee members considered a report at a meeting on June 12 which laid out the reasons for the charges.
The report stated: “The introduction of charges will relieve traffic congestion, ensure there is a consistent parking strategy in Tilgate Park, ensure the car park is being used for its intended purposes and make safer provision for blue badge holders.”
While some residents thought the charge of £1 per hour up to a maximum of £5 was fair, the decision was largely unwelcome among contributors to the Observer’s social media pages.
Andy James Turner said it was “greed for greed’s sake” and called on the council to “let go of the autocratic strangle financial hold and allow folk to enjoy their free time without the need to clock watch”.
Joseph Tiberius Wood was one of many who felt the charge was unfair to fishermen and added: “So it’s not enough that we pay to fish there – now we have to pay to park, too?”
A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council confirmed the charges would be introduced following the completion of the necessary legal processes.
He added: “Car parking income provides a significant contribution to the upkeep of the park. The fishermen’s car park will continue to be free before 10am and after 6pm in summer. Charges are equivalent to £1 per hour up to a maximum all day charge of £5.”
The charges would be administered via a ‘pay and display’ ticket system, rather than the ‘pay on entry’ method used in the larger car park, near the Smith & Western restaurant.
But the report added the council intended to introduce the ‘pay and display’ system at that car park at a later date.