LIBERAL Democrats have condemned new parking charges at car parks in Stockton Heath and Lymm.

The new parking changes came into effect today, Monday at The Forge shopping centre in Stockton Heath and Pepper Street in Lymm, with two further sites having fees introduced in Lymm.

Clr Brian Axcell (LD - Appleton), the Lib Dem transportation spokesman, said: “The proposals are unfair and unnecessary. These car parks already make a surplus, and will bring in more with the ‘no return within two hours’ condition, to which we have no objection.

“The overspend on the councils parking service is being caused by the free residents’ parking schemes operating in the centre of the town.

“The fact is the council intends to make a huge surplus on car parks in Stockton Heath and Lymm to cover the losses being made on these schemes and it is only residents and visitors to south Warrington that are expected to fork out - there are no charges for parking in council car parks in Latchford, Orford and Culcheth.”

Clr Axcell said it would cause major problems for the people of Stockton Heath and Lymm.

He added: “Cutting the time for free parking will change the nature of trips to these villages and displace parking elsewhere. Apart from causing anxiety for residents going to the doctor, dentist or solicitor if appointments are running late, the changes will affect local businesses. Visitors will be much less likely to browse in the shops or stop for a leisurely cup of coffee or a meal if they are tight for time.

“We say the council should look for efficiency savings where it is losing money, not just pick easy targets for extra cash.”