Newlands Corner: Council goes ahead with 'unwanted' changes
Parking charges and improvements to facilities at a beauty spot are to be introduced despite "overwhelming" opposition from residents.
Surrey County Council (SCC) is pressing ahead with a children's play trail and improved toilets as well as parking fees for stays over 20 minutes.
A petition against the changes has now been signed by more than 10,000 people.
Councillor Mike Goodman said the council did not want to destroy Newlands Corner, but protect it.
He said the £430,000 cost of the improvements would be paid for with a loan taken out by the county council which would be paid back with the proceeds of the parking charges to be introduced in April.
"People don't always realise it costs £156,000 a year to maintain Newlands Corner," he said.
"Surrey has got funding issues over the next few years and this is a way of ensuring we protect the countryside."
Hundreds of people have attended drop-in sessions held to explain the proposals to residents.
Richard Harrold, who started the petition, said the changes should be scrapped.
"The opposition has been overwhelming. These changes are not wanted."
SCC is planning a second phase of work at the beauty spot including a new café, visitor centre and coach park.
It said this was at a very early stage, with architects commissioned to draw up options for public consultation.
"The views of all those who visit Newlands will be taken on board before anything is progressed," it said.
"Should an application for planning permission be submitted, then normal planning procedures will apply."