A POPULAR free car park in Worcester is set to introduce charging for the first time - despite claims it is "insensitive".

The Waterworks Road car park, mainly used by people visiting Worcester's Splashpad and Gheluvelt Park, will charge people £1 for four hours use or more from April.

The move is aimed at ensuring commuters or shoppers don't use it to dump their car for the day before walking into the city.

A committee of Worcester politicians is calling for the city council to scrap the idea, saying it could hit people who want to make a day out of Gheluvelt Park in the summer.

Some even say the charging is wrong because 2014 marks the centenary of the First World War, and the park has unique links to it due to the infamous Battle of Gheluvelt on October 31, 1914.

Names of fallen soldiers are inscribed into a special rusting display at the park to remember them.

The charges would apply from 10am-4pm daily.

Councillor Roger Knight said: "That particular area has become quite a visitor attraction, Gheluvelt Park really is a superb place.

"To put a charge on this parking is completely wrong, it's also a little bit insensitive given the fact we're in 2014, close to the anniversary of World War One.

"It's a bad move and I'd urge the cabinet to reject it."

During a debate at a meeting of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee last night, fellow councillors said they had concerns too.

Councillor George Squires said: "If we start charging it will deter people from parking there and they'll park in nearby residential streets, which are congested anyway."

Councillor Lucy Hodgson said: "We say Gheluvelt Park with the Splashpad is part of the 'package' we've got in the city, but what if people want to spend all day there?

"It could cause visitors to the park genuine difficulty."

Councillor Joy Squires, who chaired the meeting, said it was a "complex issue" as the council did not want to put people off using the attraction.

The committee agreed to make a request to the Labour-led cabinet for "no controls" to be put on the car park.

It will be considered as part of the budget plans for 2014/15.