CONSERVATIVE members of Cheshire West and Chester Council are calling on their Labour counterparts to postpone the introduction of parking charges in Northwich.

On Thursday the Labour-run council announced plans to introduce small tariffs in most of the town’s public car parks, with a view to bringing them in this year.

But opposition councillors say the changes could not come at a worse time ahead of the busy Christmas period.

Cllr Helen Weltman, member for Davenham and Moulton, said: “Is this really the message that the council wants to send out at this critical time for town centre traders?

“This is the time when we want more people to choose to come to Northwich and plans are being worked up for a great programme of events and attractions.

"Uncertainty about what is going on is likely to put people off.”

Although parking will remain free at Barons Quay, tariffs starting at 20p for an hour will be introduced at places such as Memorial Court and the market car park.

Cllr Gaynor Sinar, who also represents Davenham and Moulton, added: ”We have fought the battle since 2016 to park the charges in Northwich arguing it shouldn’t happen until the regeneration of the town centre is more established.

"I’m sorry to say that Labour isn’t listening. We can only hope that they listen now and delay their plans until the New Year.”

Cllr Mark Stocks, member for Shakerley ward, said: “We want to see the programme of parking improvements that are planned alongside the introduction of charges. If existing car parks are to be upgraded then people can see the bigger picture.

"But we have yet to see the business case that looks to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds and will take many years to recoup the costs through parking charges.

“It simply doesn’t add up. If the Conservatives are in control after 2019, this will be one of the first things on our list.”