'£3 for a walk' - Dog owner upset at new charge for Alton Water car parks

Michael Stewart is calling on Anglian Water to rethink its plans for new parking charges at Alton Water

Michael Stewart is calling on Anglian Water to rethink its plans for new parking charges at Alton Water - Credit: Michael Stewart

An author who regularly walks his dogs at Alton Water has told of his upset over a new daily £3 charge for some of its car parks.

Anglian Water has announced it is installing new payment machines in three car parks for the reservoir - the two Lemons Hill car parks and the Tattingstone Wonder car park. Charges are being introduced from April 1.

A sign about the new charges being introduced at some of the Alton Water car parks 

A sign about the new charges being introduced at some of the Alton Water car parks - Credit: Michael Stewart

There are already parking machines and barriers in the water park's main car park, where there is a variable charge depending on the length of stay.

Michael Stewart, 63, author of the Millennium Shakespeare series of books, said he has been parking at Lemons Hill for many years.

He has written to Anglian Water's customer services to complain and call for a rethink. Mr Stewart said: "I only go there for about an hour at a time to walk my dogs, and I find this very disappointing. I have been going there all my life.

"In view of Covid and the necessity for people to take walks and enjoy a region and area, it is absolutely disgraceful to introduce these car parking charges, when people need this space for wellbeing."

Mr Stewart was concerned the new parking charges might cause spin-off parking problems nearby.

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He said: "I'm wondering if this will also affect neighbouring houses and other parking areas, because people will undoubtedly park near the car park rather than in it, to avoid paying." 

Michael Stewart at Alton Water

Michael Stewart is calling on Anglian Water to rethink its plans for new parking charges at Alton Water - Credit: Michael Stewart

He added people locally already paid enough to Anglian Water in water charges without being expected to pay more for parking.

"This company, which is now private, was once a public utility.  The car parks should remain free, and it is is unfair to introduce car parking charges."

Landscape at Alton Water near Ipswich

Anglian Water has confirmed Alton Water will have new parking charges at some of its car parks - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

An Anglian Water spokesman said: “From April 1, 2021, pay and display machines will be in operation at the Lemons Hill car parks and the Tattingstone Wonder car park near Alton Water, with a new £3 flat fee introduced for a day’s use.

"All our car park fees are invested back into the park and help to maintain the facilities and allow us to invest in new facilities such as children’s play areas.”

The Anglian Water website gives details of all-day explorer tickets and annual permits.

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