Fury as pub charges punters for parking

Residents in Cleadon are angry at new parking control in the village. Cllrs from Left Donald Wood and Jeff Millburn.

Residents in Cleadon are angry at new parking control in the village. Cllrs from Left Donald Wood and Jeff Millburn.

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PUB bosses have sparked fury by charging people to use their car park.

The Britannia, in Cleadon Village, has a large parking area that has been used by shoppers, parents on the school run and their own customers.

But now, the Toby Carvery has installed a meter in the once free car park – charging £1 for two hours parking and £5 for a full day.

A local councillor has blasted the decision, saying it is forcing parents to park in nearby streets, causing congestion.

The pub, in Shields Road, said it had to introduce the charges so staff and customers could park easily.

The fee can be redeemed by customers when buying food and drinks at the bar.

Coun Donald Wood said: “I have had more calls to me about this than anything I can remember recently.

“Understandably, people are very upset about it.

“The car park has always been free and is seen more as a car park for the village than exclusively for the pub.

“People use it for their shopping and more importantly for the school run.

“Now they are being forced to park elsewhere for what amounts to a matter of minutes a day.

“It’s a double-edged sword as well, because residents are unhappy that people are now parking in their streets, like Windermere and Sandgrove.

“The village is small and streets are narrow and this decision by the pub company is causing a lot of unnecessary problems.”

One resident said: “I’ve got every sympathy for the parents of children at the school, because they had the perfect place to park for drop-offs and pick-ups.

“But at the same time, our streets are narrow and already have cars in them – the last thing we need is even more.”

The charges are in operation 24 hours-a-day and anyone without a ticket will land a £60 fine.

A mum who used to use the car park while taking her daughter to Cleadon Park Primary School, Boldon Lane, said: “I can’t believe we can’t use the car park any more.

“What harm does it do having a few people use it twice a day for about 10 minutes each time?

“The pub isn’t even open when we use it in the morning.”

A spokesman for the pub said: “We share people’s concerns about the lack of car parking locally.

“Our decision to introduce a pay and display charge in our car park was not taken lightly.

“Unfortunately, all too often, our customers and staff were unable to park when visiting the pub due to non-pub users using the car park on a daily basis.

“Indeed many people were leaving their cars all day and commuting elsewhere.

“Parking for customers remains free of charge as the fee, which starts at £1, can be redeemed on food and drink purchases at the bar.

“We have only recently introduced the charge and we will continue to monitor its effectiveness.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We are meeting with brewery representatives to highlight residents’ concerns.”