A PROPOSAL for free parking at St Neots Riverside car park for three hours has been rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council. Meeting on Tuesday afternoon (March 16) at Pathfinder House in Huntingdon, the district council s cabinet decided to put an e

A PROPOSAL for free parking at St Neots Riverside car park for three hours has been rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Meeting on Tuesday afternoon (March 16) at Pathfinder House in Huntingdon, the district council's cabinet decided to put an end to all-day free parking.

HDC said did however agreed to provide 38 spaces free of charge for two hours for "recreational users" with the remaining 200 becoming paid-for spaces.

The cabinet voted against adopting the proposal from the council's overview and scrutiny panel that all spaces should be free for three hours.

Cllr Jonathan Gray said the issue had split the cabinet with the vice-chairman casting the deciding vote.

Speaking to The Hunts Post, Cllr Gray said the 38 spaces proposal seemed unenforceable.

He said: "Personally I do not think the recommendation is workable. My concern is what happens when the 39th person turns up to take part in recreational activities, will they have to pay when others don't?

"It will be chaotic and is a bad decision."

He added: "The cabinet was not in agreement but a recommendation has been put forward and we now want to know what the people of St Neots think."

Cllr Gray said the parking orders would now be subject to a public consultation.

Town councillors have campaigned against the introduction of parking charges fearing it will drive shoppers out of St Neots.

Councillor Steve Van de Kerkhove described the move as "absolutely appalling".

He said: "I'm gutted. After everything that has been said it just goes to show that the district council is not listening to the people of St Neots."

The proposed charges for the car park are: 20p for one hour, 40p for two hours, 60p for three hours, 80p for four hours and £1.50 for all day.

A spokesman for the district council said: "A car parking order will be prepared next week, to be advertised on 31 March. There will then be a 28 day consultation period for people to comment. At the end of the consultation period, the matter will go to the Car Parking Working Group and then to cabinet on June 17."

The charges are part of the district council's plan to raise extra revenue to address the shortfall in its budget.

INFORMATION: Anyone wanting to have their say should write to: Chief Executive of Huntingdonshire District Council, David Monks at Pathfinder House, St Mary’s Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TN or e-mail mail@huntsdc.gov.uk

What do you think of the parking charge plan? Email your views to: editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to: St Neots parking debate, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB.