Parking charges for the War Memorial Park & Ride could discourage people from visiting and working in Coventry city centre, a councillor fears.
Coventry City Council has said new charges in the park will tackle “misuse” by people using its car parks to visit the city centre or train station, thus limiting spaces for people visiting the park itself.
But extra parking charges on top of the cost of using the Park & Ride bus service itself have been branded a “step in the wrong direction” by Cheylesmore Cllr Roger Bailey.
Park & Ride customers will have to pay the standard parking charges for however long their visit will be, although this will be discounted to £1 on return.
The discount is likely to be redeemed by a code when purchasing the bus ticket, a spokesman for the city council said.
Parking for cars will remain free for visitors staying up to three hours at the park, with a charge of £3 for 3-4 hours, £4 for 4-5 hours, and £5 for over 5 hours and a weekly pass of £17.50 available.
Cheylesmore Cllr Roger Bailey fears it could drive visitors away from the city centre, with concern in his ward that it could also prompt drivers to park on residential roads to avoid fees.
He said: “Several residents have contacted me in regards to the proposed charging to park cars to be introduced in the War Memorial Park, specifically in regards to charging those who use it as a Park and Ride.
“The concern is in regards to car drivers starting to look for streets and roads to park nearby, to avoid payment, which would affect residents in my ward. I would like to ask Coventry City Council if they have done an impact statement as to the effects the new policy would have on the local neighbourhood?
“Some park and rides do charge but we should be doing our best to encourage people to park in the designated car park and not push them away and £1 is a step in the wrong direction.”
The council said it received “overwhelming” feedback to maintain free parking but manage any misuse during initial consultation in the budget, when plans were first mooted.
Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, council deputy leader, said: “The scheme provides a way of managing any misuse of the War Memorial Park car parks and we felt that three hours was adequate time for visitors to visit and enjoy the park, take part in activities at the venue and visit the café.
“We hope that this will deter people from using the park to access the city centre, as that is unfair on people who drive to the park to enjoy its stunning facilities.”
The scheme could be rolled out in the coming months.
It comes as reports to the city council next week revealed it is to close six city-centre car parks citing lack of use during the coronavirus.
Any objections to the War Memorial Park proposals can be sent to Mr R Parkes, Legal Services (Place Team), Coventry Council, PO Box 15, Council House, Earl Street Coventry CV1 5RR or via email to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ by October 29.