THE Friends of War Memorial Park have hit out at the ‘counterproductive’ plans to increase car parking charges at the green space.
A proposed price hike has been included as part of the council’s draft 2024/25 budget – one of many ideas to assist the authority in its current cash crisis.
The Friends claim under the Council’s new proposals, every car user will have to pay, from the moment they enter the park, as opposed to giving three hours free as it is now.
Chair of the Friends Trevor Cornfoot said: “The Memorial Park is Coventry’s principal park.
“It is full of sports and leisure facilities that are intended to attract visitors for short periods.
“Charging for the first hour or two totally flies in the face of using the City’s principal green space for healthy activities and exercise.
“And when the Council has worked so hard to create new commercial attractions in the Memorial Park, such as the new cafes, the mini-golf and the dotto train it is counterproductive to put people off using them.
“The Council is trying to have its cake and eat it.”
“The Friends proposed free parking for the first two hours of people’s visit.”
Council chiefs claim they face a £12million funding gap for this financial year, which is set to rise to around £30million for 2024/25.
A Coventry City Council spokesperson said the authority had a duty to set a balanced budget every year.
“This financial year we are forecasting a significant shortfall. This has been brought on by rising demand, underfunding and the tough economic climate.
“As a result of these pressures, we have put forward several cost-cutting proposals across city council services.
“Whilst no savings are proposed in our current parks provision there is a proposal to increase the existing charges for parking at the War Memorial Park.
“We want to hear from all our residents about these proposals, which is why we’re running a consultation.”
The council’s budget consultation runs until February 7.
People can visit letstalk.coventry.gov.uk/budget24-25 to have their say.