A SCHEME to make motorists pay to park in a town centre has been branded "commercial suicide."
Members of Wellingborough Council's economic and environment committee voted to recommend a parking control scheme – which will see parking fees introduced in the town – at a meeting last night.
President of Wellingborough's Chamber of Commerce Mark Hollyman told the meeting: "I think it would be commercial suicide to introduce car parking charges."
Local authorities have been forced to take control of decriminalised parking under the county council's local parking control.
Campaigner Mike Ellis, 40, of Alma Street, said: "The council is heading like a steam train towards charges.
"A lot of people in the town are very concerned about parking charges."
Councils have to consider a baseline option, which means parking would remain free but any future decisions on parking enforcement would be handed to the county council, or an enhanced scheme, which means fees would be brought in but Wellingborough Council would not lose control of the town's parking policy. The committee decided to recommend the enhanced scheme.
Chairman of the committee Cllr Lucy Payne said: "The enhanced scheme allows us to take control of the future. What we want to do is make sure we retain complete control of off-street parking."
Cllr Paul Crofts said: "Car parking costs huge sums of money; it has never been free and currently we have got a system where a huge amount of money is spent and it's borne by the taxpayers."
A final decision will be made at the next full meeting of Wellingborough Council on Tuesday, January 31.