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Parking Charges Plan Scrapped as Councillor Condemns 'Waste of Money' Consultation
The decision was announced at Tuesday's Full Council meeting, following concerted campaigns opposing the plans
Birmingham City Council's plan to introduce parking charges at several of the city’s flagship parks has been scrapped today.
The plans, which would have seen parking charges implemented at Woodgate Valley Country Park, Sutton Park, Sheldon Country Park and Lickey Hills Country Park were widely opposed by Conservative Councillors across the city, who argued that during a cost of living crisis, further ‘burdening’ local residents with charges at local green spaces was a ‘disgrace’.
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Following a number of petition campaigns by Conservative councillors and campaigners, the Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Majid Mahmood, said that he was ‘no longer minded to introduce parking charges’ at the above-mentioned Country Parks, instead looking at possible capital expenditure to secure improvements.
This follows the submission of three petitions (as Counter Cut reported here) collected by the Conservative Group, as well as petitions collected by Gary Sambrook MP, local Conservative associations including Quinton Ward Conservatives, Edgbaston Constituency Association and others.
Councillor Kerry Brewer (Con, Bartley Green) welcomed news the plans had been scrapped, telling Counter Cut, “it’s fantastic to hear that the hundreds of signatures collected in our petitions on parking charges have made a real difference. We were thrilled to submit these petitions at the last full council.
“These parks belong to the people of Birmingham and maintaining access to these green spaces is vital. Woodgate Valley Country Park not only provides green spaces for local people but also serves as an entry point to Woodgate Valley Country Farm, Hole Farm Trekking Centre – which are both used by a wide variety of people in the local community – and also the playing fields for local football teams.
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“Work must now surely begin on reopening the visitors centre so that this local community hub can once again be used by residents who we know really value the service provided by the visitors centre and park rangers.”
Cllr Bruce Lines (Con, Bartley Green) also welcomed the news, commenting, “this is a fantastic result following our campaign with the support from local residents to oppose these proposals.”
He added his condemnation of the Council’s decision to consult on the plans: “It just shows how out of touch this Labour Council are with residents’ views and feelings - another example of wasted taxpayer money on a consultation.” He said he hoped “these proposals will not return another day”.
Meanwhile, Gary Sambrook MP posted on social media, saying he “has been campaigning for several months to stop the ridiculous idea of parking charges at the Lickeys” and thanked those who had signed his petition. He has warned, however, that the Cabinet Member may change his mind, so the campaign must continue.
It remains to be seen what the full costs of the consultation amounted to after a number of public meetings were held and consultation responses reviewed.
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