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Surrey countryside parking charges could be reviewed

Newlands Corner parking

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Rebecca Curley at 11:18am 22nd May 2019. (Updated at 11:56am 22nd May 2019)

Scrapping countryside parking charges in Surrey has not been ruled out after the council’s leader pledged to review the policy if necessary.

Surrey County Councillor Tim Oliver said they will look at the charges in the autumn and if they could not "demonstrate" that the fees had made an impact on finances for running Surrey’s Countryside Estate then he would "review the policy".

The announcement will be welcomed by campaign groups who have been fighting to get the charges scrapped.

The controversial parking meters were introduced to commons and parks across Surrey in July last year in a bid to generate more income for the estate.

But Cllr Oliver gave hope to those against the machines on Tuesday this week at full council meeting.

Addressing councillors in his opening statement, he said:

"I completely understand the frustration when people believe we are restricting access by seeking contribution towards the cost of maintaining the countryside through car park charges.

"I have already made a commitment, indeed I made this clear as soon as I became leader to review those charges through a working group in the Autumn when we have full year’s figures.

"If we cannot clearly demonstrate to our residents that those parking charges are directly contributing towards the upkeep of the countryside then we will review the policy."

According to a business plan for the charges presented to councillors in September, it is hoped £378,666 is raised in income from vehicle charging for 2018/19.

The profit for that financial year is expected to be £113,275. The current annual cost of managing the estate is £2.1million of which SCC contributes £425,000.

The aim is for Surrey’s countryside estate to be self-funding and for the council to not be contributing anything.

The charges were introduced at Newlands Corner, Chobham Common, Norbury Park, Ockham Common, Whitmoor Common and Rodborough Common.

 

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