ANGRY people in Stourport-on-Severn have vowed to keep fighting after free parking was scrapped at one of the town’s car parks.

Wyre Forest District Council “ignored” people’s objections by agreeing to impose charges at the Vale Road car park from next Friday, said Neville Farmer, parliamentary spokesman for Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats.

Cabinet members also agreed to charge £4.10 for a stay of more than two hours instead of £5.20 – which was originally proposed – at the meeting on Tuesday.

Dozens of angry residents and traders objected to the plans as they claimed there was a gentleman’s agreement between the council and the family of original owner Thomas Vale that it should always remain free.

However, Conservative councillor Marcus Hart, the district council’s cabinet member for housing and environmental services, said the car park was bought by Stourport Urban District Council for the full market value and was passed down to the Wyre Forest authority in 1974.

More than 600 people signed a petition against the proposals, which was presented to cabinet members.

Mr Farmer, who started the petition, said he was “very sad” about the decision.

He said: “I can’t believe the council has completely ignored the objections of so many people.

“It’s the residents of Mitton Gardens I feel sorry for as they have always understood that the car park was free and it will affect their house values and cost of living.

“Also, I feel really bad for the businesses of Stourport. Shopkeepers are already having problems and this will make it worse. I think this is a very short-sighted idea and anything but fair.

“Former councillors believe there was a gentleman’s agreement and just because there isn’t a piece of paper that says that, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

Neil Harman, of Mitton Gardens, who has campaigned against the plans, said he would not give up the fight.

He said: “I’m upset and disappointed that residents have been ignored. They’ve not considered the arguments that we have put forward.

“It’s going to mean a great decline for Stourport. Why would people park here when they can get cheaper parking elsewhere?

“It will really affect this town and that’s why people are angry.”

Coun Hart said: “Having listened to recommendations from residents and in particular the town council, the decision is to go ahead with the charging implementation on Vale Road in order to be fair and consistent with all residents across the district.

“I maintain the decision that it would be unfair and inequitable to residents of the district to have the car park free when others are not.”