MORE than 1,500 people have signed a petition against proposals to introduce parking charges at two sites in Prudhoe.

The plans are to introduce parking charges of £3 a day at Prudhoe railway station and Prudhoe’s Riverside Park, as well as Haltwhistle Railway Station.

The charges have been proposed to help pay for the council’s £10m investment into parking improvements throughout the county, including a new car park in Hexham, at a time when it needs to slash £27m from its budget over the next three years.

But Prudhoe and District Labour Party started a petition against the plans following public opposition. It was handed in to Northumberland County Council’s headquarters at County Hall last week to form part of the feedback for the consultation on the proposals.

The petition gathered 1,543 signatures after many local businesses also supported it by displaying copies to their customers.

Those opposed to the charges said it would encourage commuters back on to the roads, contributing to air pollution. They also said it could mean grandparents, parents and childminders who take children to the Tyne Riverside Country Park for exercise could no longer be able to afford to do so.

Andrew Brown-Searle, vice-chairman of Prudhoe & District Labour Party, said: “People feel really strongly about this. I was out getting signatures and of the four visits to the country park I made I think only one person declined to sign the petition. There has been huge support for the petition.”