The unpopular parking charges at Norbury and other countryside car parks in Surrey are to be scrapped.
The decision, taken by the County Council's cabinet on Tuesday, followed a review of the scheme which concluded that the charges were not raising the money originally anticipated. Charging also ran counter to other council policies, such as its Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
Tim Hall, County Councillor for Leatherhead and Fetcham East, said: “I welcome this decision to reverse the charges, it’s obvious that it did not work as was intended and has just dispersed users of Norbury Park to other localities.”
Council leader, Tim Oliver, told the meeting that Surrey's finances were also in a better position this year compared to 2018, when the charges were imposed.
Opponents of the charges said they were causing visitors to stay away. There were also concerns that more vehicles were being parked on nearby residential roads.
Last year thousands of people signed protest petitions. Other affected areas in the county included Newlands Corner, Ockham Common and Chobham Common.
The charges, which applied 7 days a week, ranged from £1.30 for the first hour to a maximum of £5 if staying for more than 3 hours. Regular visitors also had the option of signing up for a £60 annual pass. These passes will expire on April 1st.
Councillors voted to bring forward a scheme which would allow visitors to make a voluntary parking contribution if they wished.
In a separate move, the cabinet also decided to take back into council control the farms and properties on its countryside estate, including those at Norbury Park.
Since 2002, these properties have been managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust.
The full agenda and decisions taken by councillors at Surrey's cabinet on 26th November can be viewed here.