As expected, Labour-led Gateshead Council have pushed through their plans for car park charges in Whickham, despite strong resistance from local residents, businesses and councillors.
However, a last minute objection by your local Lib Dem councillors has meant a delay in implementing the scheme and also some success in gaining some concessions.
To support the Safe Routes to School scheme at Front Street School, the starting time for car park charging in both car parks has been pushed back from 8:30 am to 9:00 am.
Drivers using the West (Gibside Arms) car park solely for the purposes of using the recycling facilities will not be charged.
No charges will apply to electric vehicles utilising the electric charging points.
In the East (Library) car park, parking charges will be 20p per hour up to a maximum of 4 hours. The West (Gibside Arms) car park will cost £1 all day. Charging is now due to commence on Monday 9th January 2012.
Lib Dem campaigner Sonya Hawkins said, “The charges risk damaging businesses in Whickham and will push parking into residential streets.
“The £30,000 spent on installing ticket machines will take years to get back. That money would have been much better spent on improving the car parks.
“We have also asked if any future profit from the charges will be used in Whickham village - but the answer is that it might be used to improve car parks in other parts of Gateshead - including ones that don’t have charges. This simply isn’t fair or reasonable.”