Sumner Road car park charge proposals under scrutiny
Strong criticism has been directed at Sefton Council following their proposal to start charging visitors to use the Sumner Road car parks in Formby.
If plans go ahead, in a bid to help save £55 million over the next two years, pay and display would operate seven days a week from 8am to 6pm at Sumner Road, Formby, from 10am to 5pm at Churchtown’s Botanic Gardens and from 10am and 5pm at Burbo Bank, Blundellsands.
Formby Residents Action Group Cllr Maria Bennett for Ravenmeols Ward, also criticised the proposal. She said: “Formby Village is in decline and nothing is being done to stop this and now we want to charge the residents to park to go to the village.
“Having lived in Formby for over 25 years I am well aware that this will only increase parking elsewhere around the village because there is a clear lack of parking spaces that are free and that there is a lack of parking full stop.
“People do not want to pay to pop into the village for 10 mins to pick something up and I do not think it is right that we keep trying to find ways of penalizing car owners just because they want to go into their local village and shop.
“While many people do walk to the village on a nice day, this is the only village in Formby and Formby is a big place so people will use cars.
“We appear on one hand to be saying shop local and support your local business and then on the other hand saying, if you do we will charge you for the privilege.
“This is not helpful for the residents or the traders who rely on them to shop in the village.
Nor do I agree that parking should be charged 7 days a week.
What provision do you have in place for people who need to attend their local GP in the village, are they going to have to pay for the privilege to go and see them?
“So, all in all I object in the most strongest terms on behalf of the residents to this proposal being implemented.”
The charges are expected to match those currently in operation at other public car parks in the area which cost 20p for 30 minutes, 90p for two hours, £1.70 for four hours, and £3.40 for four hours.
An annual permit would be made available at a charge of £35 per year for regular users of the car park.
Liberal Democrat Cllr John Dodd, for Churchtown and Crossens, expressed his anger at the proposals. He said: “Introducing pay and display is just another unfair tax on families and less able people who enjoy the simple pleasure of a visit to the park.
“My ward colleagues and I are challenging Sefton Council’s decision all the way.
“Unbelievably, there is no forecast as to how much money they expect to get in return from creating this new pay and display car park. It’s going to cost £27,000 alone to buy and install the meter machines, plus legal costs and painting yellow lines, making the total price £31,000.”
There would also be a special permit to allow parents to use the Verulam Road car park free of charge between 3pm and 4pm when picking up their children from Churchtown Primary School.
A report was passed to members to make any comments on before a decision was made by the Cllr John Fairclough, cabinet member for locality services, to approve the scheme to be put on Sefton Council’s website for further comments from the public.
A Sefton Council spokesman said: “If approved, the scheme will be formally advertised with anyone entitled to make any further objections which will all be looked at.”
Cllr Fairclough added: “If the proposal goes ahead any money made from the car parks will be reinvested into them.”
A final decision on the plans is expected to be made next Friday.