Community joy as car parking plan for beauty spot is scrapped

People power has forced a change.
People power has forced a change.

Community strengtH has won a victory after plans to curb parking at a city park were scrapped.

Almost 1,300 people signed an online and paper petition against Wakefield Council’s proposals to introduce a maximum three-hour stay at Thornes Park.

Coun Michael Graham, Wakefield Council.

Coun Michael Graham, Wakefield Council.

Many objections came from parents whose children use the park for gymnastics or athletics, often for training sessions lasting longer than three hours.

A council survey suggested city centre shoppers and commuters had been occupying the spaces, something that regular users denied.

It was proposed to cap the maximum stay at the park’s three car parks - the stadium, the Holmfield car park and at Stork Lodge cafe - to bring them in line with other parks and leisure sites under its control.

But following the end of a consultation period on Monday, the idea was binned.

Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “We value feedback from our residents and after listening to people’s views have decided not to introduce parking restrictions.

“We hope that by continuing without any changes, residents will continue to enjoy the park and the sporting facilities at Thornes Park.”

Mother-of-two Teri Chester from Altofts, who launched the petition, said: “I’m absolutely relieved, we’re all really happy with the result.

“I definitely think it was the sheer scale of the community.

“The change would have had such a huge negative impact on many different groups of people, all of different ages, all of whom their main reason for attendance is to better their health.

“We have over 1,300 signatures on our petition, we have support from local councillors and many independent people also sent objections, the council thankfully listened. It was a great team effort.”

Wakefield west ward councillor Michael Graham was also overjoyed with the decision after offering his support to the campaigners.

He said: “I am delighted to report that Wakefield Council have decided to scrap the proposed parking restrictions. “Fighting against proposals such as these is made so much easier when you can prove you have the support of the entire community.

“A special thank you to Teri Chester who brought this issue to my attention and did a tremendous amount of work starting the online petition and gathering support.

“Also a massive thank you to everyone in the community who wrote to the council and objected through the online petition.”