A CONTROVERSIAL plan to introduce parking charges at a city park will be fully scrutinised by county councillors before a decision is made.

The proposal to implement charges at Worcester Woods County Park was "called in" - a rare power requesting the council's main scrutiny group look at the plan - by Councillor Richard Udall putting a halt to proceedings.

At a meeting of the county council's overview and scrutiny performance board on Wednesday (December 5) councillors agreed to investigate the plan at its next meeting on January 14.

Cllr Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for communities, who is behind the parking charges plan, said the council needs to make cuts and is only bringing Worcester Woods in line with similar visitor attractions across the county.

She said the plans to introduce parking charges would raise around £140,000 a year for the maintenance of green spaces.

Cllr Fran Oborski said: "I think it is really important that we get the views of users of that car park including organised groups who use the place as well as the casual members of the public and the views of the cafe."

She said it was essential all the groups who would be affected by the introduction of parking charges had a chance to have a say whether it was in person or in writing.

Cllr Chris Bloore, chairman of the overview and scrutiny performance board, said: "I do think is quite a multi-layered issue and I do think there are lots of groups affected.

"One of the people who did contact me who lives on a local road said they would be inundated with people parking on it [if charges were introduced]."

Cllr Liz Eyre, vice chairman of the scrutiny board, said it was essential that as much written evidence was presented to the board ahead of the meeting

Cllr Udall said the move would deter poorer residents from using the facility and harm trade at the Orchard Cafe, which is next to the car park.

A petition calling for the plans to be scrapped has so far gained more than 4,700 signatures.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said he was against the plans and will be invited to have his say to the scrutiny group.

The council's overview and scrutiny performance board will meet at County Hall on January 14 at 10am. The public are welcome to attend.