Campaign to axe Hayling Island parking charges gets huge support

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MORE than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for proposed charges at a health centre to be scrapped.

People have joined the campaign in their droves in a bid to send a clear message to Havant Borough Council.

CAMPAIGN John Perry and Chris Woollacott outside the Hayling Island Health Centre car park. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (131057-9576)

CAMPAIGN John Perry and Chris Woollacott outside the Hayling Island Health Centre car park. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (131057-9576)

As reported, the authority is considering introducing charges at Hayling Island Health Centre, in Elm Grove.

The 100-space car park, owned by the council, is currently split into two, with charges in one section for people using nearby shops.

People using the health centre get to park for free, but the council proposes to charge across the entire car park.

Up to one hour would be 50p, up to two hours 80p, up to three hours £1, up to four hours £2.50 and more than four hours would be £5.50.

It follows an increase in charges in Mengham from 70p per hour to £1 this year.

When Chris Woollacott, 53, a consultant electronic engineer, found about the latest proposals he started a petition.

Mr Woollacott, of St Catherine’s Road, Hayling, said: ‘The petition started the Saturday before last and we have exceeded 1,000 signatures.

‘Over 30 outlets are holding the petition.

‘It’s fair to say there’s a lot of ill will about the increase in parking charges.

‘It’s now £1 to park in Mengham. There are no large shops and people pop in for five minutes and then they are gone. To charge £1 for that is a lot of money. The health centre is just a step too far for most people.

‘Most people feel very, very angry about the idea that sick people are going to be charged to park at the health centre.’

He added: ‘We have a lot of older people and a lot with chronic conditions who come to the doctors regularly. I felt it was unfair and a regressive tax on sick people.’

Mr Woollacott’s neighbour John Perry has helped with the petition.

He said: ‘I was involved in the Save Hayling petition and it’s interesting that with this petition we have had more signatures in the first week.’

Residents are hoping to force the council to debate the issue by getting more than 1,500 signatures. Council leaders have stressed no decision has been made and that charges exist at places like Havant Health Centre and Queen Alexandra Hospital.