CAR parking charges have been introduced at one of the district’s village halls.

Ponteland Memorial Hall, on Darras Road, implemented the charges on Wednesday, June 17.

Ponteland Memorial Hall, which opened in 1922, is an independent self-funded charity, which provides space for a bowling and tennis club and hires rooms for use by residents of the community.

And now in order to avoid the loss of the much-appreciated community asset, Trustee’s have introduced a paid parking system.

Chairman Robin Ramsay (MBE) said: “When the Trust was set up at the end of WW1, car usage was very small. Over the years, the Hall has provided a car park for those using our facilities, which were extended to include park users at no charge.The general public has also used the car park for a variety of purposes.

“However, the costs of providing such a facility has increased to the extent that the current costs of maintaining the car park are substantial.

“With great reluctance, the Trustees agreed to introduce charging for all users. It was recognised that this was a considerable change for the community and hence a very modest tariff was established.”

A number plate recognition system has been introduced and it was also decided for personnel security reasons, as well as keeping administration costs to a minimum, a cash system would not be used.

Fees will be used to fund ongoing maintenance to the 72-space car park, improve security and deter misuse.

The Hall is appealing for community donations to help with costs arising from the impact of the pandemic, which has so far raised only £1,500. Funds are also required for a refurbishment of the 98-year-old building.