VOLUNTEERS have been left disappointed after learning parking charges will be introduced on the council car park they have spent six years looking after.
After Warwickshire County Council (WCC) unsuccessfully tried to bring in a pay and display system at Stratford Greenway in 2010, a group of residents agreed to take responsibility for locking and unlocking the Seven Meadows Road car park each day.
The volunteers – who opened the car park even on Christmas Day – believe they have saved the council some £30,000 by doing the job for free over the past five years.
But at a recent council meeting it was decided a pay and display system should be introduced, with a minimum charge of 50p for one hour and £3 for the day.
It was the third time the council had proposed charges should be put in place.
Volunteer group spokesman Mike Watkins told the Observer: “The Greenway Rota Group was naturally disappointed by the decision to introduce parking charges at the Stratford Greenway at both Seven Meadows Road and Milcote.
“We thank in particular, councillors Jenny Fradgley and Kate Rolfe who displayed a commendable grasp of the issues and a real desire to represent their constituents.”
The volunteers say they are still concerned the charges will deter people from visiting the Greenway and push visitors to park on nearby residential streets.
Mr Watkins said: “The Greenway is a community place where people go for family days out, to see friends and even to quickly to walk their dogs.
“People won’t want to go to the land during their lunchbreak to walk their pets if they have to stop and pay for tickets.”
The council say they will be evaluating the pay and display scheme in six months time to see what impact it has on visitors and parking on nearby roads.
County council service manager Janet Purcell said: “Warwickshire County Council has seriously considered this matter.
“The council has undertaken to evaluate the impact of the changes now agreed and is looking forward to a continuing dialogue with residents on this matter.”