01:11PM, Tuesday 12 January 2021
Charges could be introduced at free car parks. Archive photo
Eton parish councillors have slammed proposals which could see charges introduced at free car parks around the borough.
At an Eton Town Council meeting on Thursday, January 7, councillors unanimously agreed to make representations via a petition to oppose the ruling Conservatives of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s proposal to introduce charges to the free Hayward’s Meadow car park in Eton Wick.
As part of the proposed 2021/22 budget, which is subject to public consultation, 12 car parks, including Hayward’s Meadow, are under threat from this.
During ward councillor John Bowden’s (Conservative) council update to members, Eton Wick councillor Linda Tarbox warned him the council will face heavy opposition to this plan from many people in the village.
She said: “I think it’s going to cost more for the borough to actually run it than any money they make from it.
“When you consider this is mainly used by local residents in the village, and if you do charge for footfall on a Sunday, they will not park [there] and park on the roads, causing more hazards.
“I just think it’s a silly thing to do. Myself and a lot of other residents agree and I think you’ll get a lot of consultation back against that proposal for Eton Wick.”
The deputy mayor, John Lovell, said this new charge 'doesn’t make any sense' and questioned if the council will pay for those who have to use Hayward’s Meadow car park – which has 15 spaces – such as the pitch markers, the Eton Wick waterways group, the ground maintenance team from Eton Town Council, and more.
He said: “The amount of money it’s going to take to install it and run it would probably take about 10 or 15 years for them [the council] to get their money back. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Another Eton Wick councillor, Peter Lawless, said: “It’s a good way not to get votes.”
The opposing Royal Borough Liberal Democrats also launched a petition urging the ruling Conservatives to scrap the introduction of charges to the 12 free car parks, fearing this could cause parking 'chaos'.
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