Thornes Park parking charge plans face opposition

Picture by Allan McKenzie/YWNG - 14/10/17 - Sport - Athletics - Cross Country League, Thornes Park, Wakefield, England - The U15 boys set off.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/YWNG - 14/10/17 - Sport - Athletics - Cross Country League, Thornes Park, Wakefield, England - The U15 boys set off.

Opposition is mounting against plans to introduce a three-hour maximum stay at a Wakefield park, with hundreds signing a petition.

Wakefield Council is planning to introduce the changes at Thornes Park at the stadium car park, the Holmfield car park and at Stork Lodge cafe.

Stork Lodge Tea Room

Stork Lodge Tea Room

Although the parking will remain free, the proposals have been met with anger from regulars at the park, particularly users of the local clubs, including Wakefield Gym Club and Wakefield District Harriers.

Teri Chester, from Altofts, has two daughters who attend gymnastics almost every day at the park, with sessions lasting between three and four hours.

She said: “There are a lot of people who will be affected.

“Why don’t they speak to the people who use the park every day to see if we can come up with suggestions?

“The council say they are trying to get kids into sports and they are penalising us for it. People will stop coming to the park, and it will struggle without the activities.”

An online petition already has more than 300 signatures, while hundreds have also signed a paper petition.

Christine Austin, who has run the Stork Lodge Cafe for the past 12 years, added.

She said: “I am not sure why this restriction is being brought in and can only guess it is the perception that some cars use the free Stork car park and then walk into Wakefield to avoid paying for a ticket. “This is definitely not the case.”

In response, a spokesman for Wakefield Council, said: “We consulted with residents last year to ensure we have a consistent approach to parking across the district, and in June changes were approved by the council’s cabinet. A limit of three hours for free parking was agreed.

“Surveys found that shoppers and commuters were using certain spaces for all-day parking, limiting the availability of spaces.

“The change will also enable enforcement action to be taken to address any issues.”

People can lodge their concerns by emailing carparking@wakefield.gov.uk by 5pm on Monday, November 12.

The petition can also be signed at www.change.org and search for ‘Thornes Park’ at the top of the page.