Poole's park and beach users to pay for parking

Whitecliffe Park Image copyright Google
Image caption Whitecliffe Park is among the car parks where charges are being introduced

Controversial plans to introduce pay-and-display parking at five parks and on streets near beaches in part of Dorset have been approved.

Councillors in Poole agreed to begin charging motorists between 1 March and 31 October, starting in 2017.

Residents, who fought a long campaign against the plans, say surrounding streets will be "flooded" by drivers looking for alternative free parking.

The council said charges would promote more sustainable access to the beach.

The parks affected are Hamworthy Park, Lake Pier car park, Newfoundland Drive skate park, Ham Common and Whitecliffe Park.

The car park scheme will cost £41,000 to set up, according to a council report, but the money is expected to be recouped within a year.

Motorists will be able to park for 30 minutes free of charge. After that, parking will be charged at £1 for up to two hours and £2 for up to 10 hours. Annual permits will also be available.

Pay-and-display petition

Whitecliffe Residents Association wrote to the government to complain about the plans and thousands of people signed a petition.

Borough of Poole said money generated would be used to maintain and improve parking facilities over time.

The second scheme, to add an extra 350 pay-and-display places in 11 roads near the town's beaches was revised down, according to the council, having originally been for 1,200 spaces in 23 roads.

In April, residents presented five petitions signed by 9,000 people to the council opposing the street charge scheme, which was later deferred by councillors.

A report said it would have a positive impact on traffic flow near the town's coastal areas, while leaving 1,600 free, on-street parking places within a five to 15-minute walk of the beach.

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