ANGRY members of a community group have spoken out against the scrapping of free parking at Pugneys Country Park.
Wakefield Council’s cabinet made the decision on Tuesday to raise £190,000.
At the moment visitors can park free for the first hour, then pay 50p for every hour after through a barrier system.
But by the end of the year a pay and display machine will be installed with charges of 30p for one hour, 60p for up to two hours, £2 for up to four hours and £3 for all day.
The Friends of Pugneys group say getting rid of the first free hour will have a massive detrimental effect on visitors.
In a joint statement to the Express, the friends committee said: “We know from what many of the regular users tell us, that they will no longer be able to afford to go to the park on a regular basis and this is extremely sad.
“Particularly for those who walk around the park to help recover from serious illnesses, for mums with young children, and also the elderly who want to keep fit and meet other people.”
The council brought in charges in 2009, but after a campaign by the Express and the friends group, the local authority decided to keep free parking for the first hour.
The group said it was only given four days to react to the new proposals and added: “We were promised investment in the park, which didn’t materialise. Any money now generated from the parking charges will go into a general pot and will not necessarily be reinvested in the park.”
A council spokeswoman said new charges will be in place “as soon as possible” but certainly before January 1.
It will cost the council £20,000 to install new parking meters, but it hopes to generate £190,000 from the new charges.