We’re fuming after the council forced annoying tourists to park on our road – they’re ruining our lives | The Sun

FURIOUS homeowners have been left seething after an "extortionate" hike in fees at a popular country park forced tourists to park across their roads.

Residents near Upton Country Park in Poole, Dorset, say that the "blatant profiteering" of the local council has led to the overcrowding of their streets.

Before 2017, parking at the multi award-winning green space had been free.

But since paying for parking was introduced, the council has regularly hiked the prices to use the car park.

Now, locals have had enough – and slammed the council's price increase of around 30 per cent as "a step too far".

To stay for an hour, visitors will now need to pay £2 – a price that rises to a whopping £6 if they want to have a more leisurely stroll around the grounds that takes over four hours.

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Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has defended their actions by arguing the money gained is spent on the conservation and maintenance of the park grounds.

But angry locals say their move has had an annoying consequence, as visitors avoid paying by finding a spot on nearby roads instead.

Mike Talbot, 70, has been coming to the park for years and he was shocked by the price rises.

He couldn't understand why parking fees had been introduced in the first place, and feels people should be incentivised to get out in the open air.

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Mr Talbot said: "I was shocked when I saw how high the parking price is now.

"Charging £2 for an hour in the open is just blatant profiteering."

Malcolm Angel, another local resident, said: "It can get really bad sometimes but I don't blame the people coming here to park.

"I blame the BCP Council for putting such high prices for the car parks, it's terrible management.

"The short-stay car park near us is also just too small."

Local artists Jeneta Bird and Theresa Newton have been visiting the park for inspiration.

Mrs Bird, who lives in Poole, said: "If you have a dog and you want to take it for a walk this is the perfect place to come.

People aren't parking here anymore because it is so expensive

"I have lived here for decades and I remember when it used to be free and every day this car park would be full.

"People can't afford to pay such high fees at the moment."

Mrs Newton said: "This park is supposed to be for the community and the council's decision to keep raising fees is terrible.

"People have to park further away and that has an impact on nearby residents."

BCP Cllr Mark Anderson, cabinet member for place and environment, defended the price hikes at a recent council meeting, reports the Bournemouth Echo.

He said the park supports a range of community programmes and hosts free or low-cost subsidised activities for families during the school holidays.

He added: “The 160 acre site is open seven days a week and unlike many large parks and attractions is free to enter, with facilities such as the children’s play park, splash fountain and bird hide free for all visitors to enjoy.

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“BCP Council has made significant investment to create a new network of sustainable transport routes, providing safe and environmentally friendly travel alternatives to driving.

“Upton Country Park can be reached by foot, cycle, train, and bus. The low parking tariffs at the park for those who want to drive still provide excellent value, and regular park users can buy a parking season ticket for the equivalent of less than £1 per week."

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