04:00PM, Thursday 10 November 2016
Parking charges could be introduced at the railway station in Lower Road, Cookham Rise, after a rail user’s group suggested it to Great Western Rail, a borough councillor has said.
Though plans have not yet been set in stone, a proposal to introduce a £2 charge at the station is on the cards after it was raised with the train company by the Marlow-Maidenhead Passengers’ Association (MMPA).
Cllr MJ Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham), Cookham Parish Council’s representative to the MMPA, said the group had hoped to maintain the ‘viability’ of the line, as money raised from parking fees could help with future investment and maintenance, and to stop users of otherstations that already have charges from driving in from out of town to take advantage of it.
He and Cookham Parish Council want Cookham residents to have permits for the car park allowing them to avoid the charge, if introduced.
However, he was ‘frustrated’ after a phone call he had with Jane Jones, the head of public affairs at GWR.
At the Cookham Parish Council meeting on Tuesday, November 1, Cllr Saunders said he had been told ‘no’ by Ms Jones after asking if permits were on the table.
He said: “We do not really want these charges at all, full stop. But if they are going to introduce these charges we want permits for all Cookham residents.”
He said the process had moved too quickly and by the time the parish council was involved it was too late to provide input. He was frustrated that following discussions with the ‘unelected’ MMPA, the democratic council’s members had only been approached later on.
He said: “It seems that we are at the back of the queue.”
John Marsh, the MMPA chairman, said the group had merely pointed out the ‘anomalous’ situation of the station’s free parking compared with other stations and were concerned about ‘poor revenue collection’ on the line, which could lead to services being withdrawn in future.
A spokesman for GWR said: “With GWR presently offering free parking, non-rail users are taking up valuable space provided for train passengers.
“We are also considering the logistics of a residential permit for those residents whose properties adjoin the car park.”
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