New pay and display charge at Shropshire visitor centre 'will not help'
Introducing pay and display parking at a site deep in the rural Shropshire hills may hurt a visitor centre more than it helps it, supporters have said.
Parking charges, including the installation of a possible pay and display machine, are being considered for a site on the Stiperstones in south west Shropshire, next to the hill's nature reserve and The Bog Visitor Centre.
But those who run the centre, which attracts 20,00 visitors a year have said the move could worsen parking on the road up to the site, or even put off people coming in the first place.
Shropshire Council has said the idea is only a suggestion among a range of measures to boost heritage site funding being considered at the moment, and a full consultation would be carried out before a decision was made.
Noel Evans, chairman of the organisation, said Shropshire Council had recently resurfaced the nearby car park and officers had mentioned the suggestion to him but said they would need to return to discuss it in more depth. He said: "If it did go ahead we would have two concerns, firstly that it would cause chaos because as we understand it the car park would not be manned and you may get people parking all up the side of the road. Secondly that people would not come up to the top here and we would start losing visitors at the centre."
Peter Phillips, chairman of Enterprise South West Shropshire and a former Shropshire councillor, said
said: "Here we are, trying to encourage the quiet enjoyment of the countryside, encouraging people to get out for their health and all that, and Shropshire Council treats it like suburbia."
Clare Fildes, Shropshire Council's outdoor partnership manager said: "There are no plans currently, to introduce car parking charges at the Bog Mine and Stiperstones national nature reserve. Having said that the funding situation for country parks and heritage sites is under considerable pressure and a range of measures are being considered to address this problem."
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