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Plans to charge for parking at Cannon Hill Park blocked

Proposals for £2 and £3 charges put on hold following challenge from council backbenchers

A plan to charge for parking at Birmingham's Cannon Hill Park has been put on hold by a council watchdog committee.

The city's cross-party corporate services scrutiny committee blocked the charges because they found bosses had not properly consulted the park's users over the proposals.

Charges of £2 per car for up to four hours and £3 per car for the whole day were due to be introduced from June 23 – but now are likely to be delayed.

Money raised would have covered the costs of a £450,000 upgrade of the car park – including resurfacing at the Birmingham Wildlife Park, CCTV cameras, lights, parking meters and signs.

Any profit above that was expected to be spent offsetting the cuts to the park services such as covering the costs of park keepers and maintenance.

The committee heard that of the thousands of park users there were only 13 responses.

Coun Ewan Mackey (Con Sutton Trinity), who issued the official challenge, said: "Yet again this Labour administration has not consulted its residents in a meaningful manner. Until the council learns to listen to its residents, things will continue to go wrong."

Coun Ewan Mackey
Coun Ewan Mackey

Also backing the challenge was Coun Rob Pocock (Lab Sutton Vesey), who said: "The consultation hasn't been as good as it should be. We need to listen to the users who are going to be paying the money."

Labour cabinet member for parks Coun Lisa Trickett said she would now ensure that users, from dog walkers to organised groups, were informed of the proposals and had a chance to respond.

"That car park is not good, the surface is poor and it is not safe at night for people visiting the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre). The only way we could raise to the money to invest was through charges," she said.

She added the council had withdrawn a proposal to scrap park keepers following public outcry and needed to find other ways to cover running costs including car park charges.

The charges cannot now be implemented at least until the council's cabinet has had another chance to consider them at its June meeting.

The committee also heard there was a linked plan to introduce parking restrictions on residential streets surrounding Cannon Hill Park to prevent displacement after charges were introduced.

Plans for further parking charges at Sutton Park are also being drawn up.

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