MY wife and I have been visiting Heybridge Basin for more than half a century, during which time the Daisy Meadow car park has proudly bucked the trend and provided motorists with free parking.

Thus, it was with great regret to learn that plans by the parish council some years ago to introduce parking charges have been enacted.

Judging by the number of vehicles at the car park on a sunny summer-like Sunday this week, those councillors who dreamed up the idea must be delighted.

While I understand the problems facing the parish council, I am sure there are many people like me who will not frequent the basin quite so much in the future.

Though the charges are lower than the ludicrous car park charges set by Maldon District Council, the rate of which will continue to kill an already ailing High Street, Heybridge could have shown a little more sympathy with those who have continually supported the village.

Read more >>> Charges set to be introduced to free Heybridge car park

At West Mersea and several car parks in other parts of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, car parking is often free for the first hour, and the general short-term rate considerably cheaper.

When Daisy Meadow car parking charges were first mooted four years ago, the newly-elected chairman of the parish council’s environment and resources committee was quoted in the Standard as saying: “We as a council have to provide the services and resources needed by the people of Heybridge.”

That’s fair enough.

But not at the risk of out-pricing visitors who help the economy of businesses at the basin, especially when ignoring other problems within the confines of the village, like turning a blind eye to the appalling dog mess that has for years defiled the basin walkways.

I, too, live in a village, one in which many residents will often give up their valuable spare time and clear up dog mess and organise litter campaigns, thus easing the financial and physical burden on the parish council.

Perhaps it is time for Heybridge Basin residents to support their own parish council likewise... or is this car parking charge just another indication of a council money-earner?

Ian Barratt

Great Totham