THATCHAM residents have called for West Berkshire Council to remove parking charges, which they say have created danger on local roads.
Residents have noticed an increased number of vehicles parked in residential roads since parking charges were introduced at the Burdwood Centre in Wheeler’s Green Way.
Parking at the centre is free for the first two hours, 80p for up to three hours and £2 for more.
Wheeler’s Green Way resident Rod Hinchcliffe said the amount of cars parked along the road was an accident waiting to happen.
“It’s abysmal. There’s times where they park on both sides of the road and buses can’t get through. When you pull out you are sometimes putting your life in your hands.”
Mr Hinchcliffe said that he and other residents had complained to the council but no action had been taken. “Does it take a child to be knocked down and injured? I have lived here 20 years and never seen anything like it.”
Calling for the council to drop the charges, Mr Hinchcliffe said that there was a definite connection between the charges being introduced and the increased number of cars parked on the road. And it is believed that West Berkshire Council has collected £3,350 since the charges were introduced in June 2013 until the end of February 2015.
Resident Lesley Phillips said that cars were being left for the full working day from the Co-op exit to the junction with Betteridge Road.
“It is no longer possible for cars to pass one another, so drivers often have to pull in sharply,” she said.
Mrs Phillips said that drivers wanting to turn on to Quarrington and Longbridge Road often had to move on to the wrong side of the road to do so.
A petition of 165 signatures was presented to West Berkshire Council by Thatcham town councillor Bob Morgan (Lib Dem, Thatcham South and Crookham) last week.
Mr Morgan said: “Local residents are angered by the Burdwood parking charges.
“The charges displaced parked cars on to their streets. Residents say it is difficult and dangerous to drive and to walk in the area around the centre now.
“With the charges only netting £3,300 up to February this year, it hardly seems worthwhile considering all the problems it is causing – especially if you take into account the maintenance costs.”
A spokeswoman for West Berkshire Council, Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “This petition will be considered in due course and an Individual Decision report will be produced following investigation of the issues raised.
“Whether or not the charges are changed is a matter for consideration as part of this report.
“When the charges were introduced, it was estimated that this car park would generate about £1,250 per annum. In 2013/14 the income was £1,348 and in 2014/15 up to the end of December 2014 the income was £1,115.”