A COUNCILLOR is calling for the will of the people to be heard a meeting in the new year set to discuss new parking charges on a popular city park.

The Worcester News reported that charges will be introduced for the first time at Worcester Woods Country Park after council cabinet member Lucy Hodgson signed off on the proposals in November.

But there was disappointment from city councillor Richard Udall, who set up the petition against the plans which attracted more than 4,000 signatures.

The decision of the cabinet member was called in, which means the charges -£1 for one hour, £2 for two, £3 for four, £7 for over four and £60 for an annual pass - cannot be implemented until the call-in process is completed.

Cllr Udall is now urging campaigners against the charges to attend the Worcestershire County Council’s overview and scrutiny performance board meeting, which it has been announced will take place from 10am at County Hall on Monday, January 14.

Cllr Udall said: “People, from across the political spectrum, have been stopping me in the street saying keep fighting this. The more the merrier - we need to show the strength of feeling that is out there on this issue.”

Richard Ralphs, events director of Worcester Parkrun, said he was among the interested groups invited to speak at the meeting, an offer he had taken up.

The parkrunners meet weekly at the site, and Mr Ralphs said the new charges were not “going to be a good thing”.

Mr Ralphs said it would be a shame if parkrunners stopped using the free event due to parking costs and said he thought his originally calculation - that it will cost £15,900 a year for parkrunners was wrong - with it likely to cost a lot more than that.

“They will miss out on the community, enjoying the community and mental benefits of parkruns,” he said.

“I hope they (the council) rethink. I will be attending the meeting and speaking, and people have told me they are keen to go, and stand up against it.”

After the decision was taken Cllr Hodgson said: "The county council has been reviewing income generation opportunities across its entire estate for quite some time.

"With financial pressures growing on the county council, the introduction of a parking charge at Worcester Woods Country Park will generate around £140,000 each year.

"The charges for Worcester Woods are similar to other visitor attractions and represent typical visitor lengths of stay."

Members of the public wishing to take part in public speaking section at the meeting need to notify the head of legal and democratic services in writing or by email no later than 9am on January 11.

For more details contact officers Alyson Grice or Samantha Morris, on 01905 844962/844963 or email scrutiny@worcestershire.gov.uk