PARENTS have just five minutes to drop their children off at a County Durham Track Club before being fined for parking.
A number of visitors to the Riverside Sports Complex in Chester-le-Street have complained about the tight deadline in which they are supposed to park in paid parking lots and display nearby, take the kids to the club, return to their vehicle and leave before having to pay for a ticket.
North Durham MP Kevan Jones urged Durham County Council, which manages the parking lot, to apply “common sense” to the situation.
He added: “Even the most athletic parents would have a hard time dropping their children into the current five-minute window. ”
Mr Jones asked council to consider introducing a parking waiver program for parents of children attending a resort track club.
He said that, given that almost all other municipal parking lots in County Durham are currently free after 2 p.m., it is “difficult to justify not allowing parents to drop their children off at this club a little longer.”
But the authority said drivers had enough time to park and drop off or collect people using the complex before a ticket was required.
And council chief Amanda Hopgood said there had already been problems with dangerous and reckless parking in the area.
Durham County Council transport and contract services manager Dave Wafer said the five-minute window for drop-off is sufficient “due to the proximity of the parking lot to the drop-off point.”
He added: “No changes to the current arrangement are necessary. If any activity other than drop-off / pick-up takes place, a payment and display ticket must be purchased.
“Parking fees are used as a tool to discourage long-term parking and encourage renewal of short-stay visitors to access area amenities.
“In addition, because there are various overhead costs associated with operating parking lots, including water tariffs, commercial tariffs, and upkeep and maintenance costs, parking pricing at the current rate covers expenses that would otherwise be paid by the taxpayer. ”
Mr Jones wrote to Cllr Hopgood to tell him parents were “deeply concerned” about fines imposed by parking lot guards and that the council should encourage young people to participate in physical activity, in line with its “Move” campaign .
He said the current situation “penalizes parents for dropping their children off at the club, rather than encouraging greater community use of the sports facilities we have at The Riverside.”
Chester-le-Street Athletic Club president Phil Corless, who himself was fined for parking, sees the situation as “bizarre” and says the council “doesn’t want people to stay fit and healthy. good health”.
He said: “Everyone has had a hard time during Covid. And people have been encouraged by the government to get out there and stay fit and healthy. But I think it almost feels like people are penalized for it. It is truly imperative that we keep the young and the old fit and healthy. ”
Cllr Hopgood said: “Police have asked us to monitor the parking situation at Riverside Lot after receiving reports of cars parked on double yellow lines and in a dangerous manner.
“We appreciate the importance of physical activity and don’t want to discourage participation in sports clubs.
“Therefore, we are reviewing the issues raised and will work with the track club to find a solution, taking into account the views of residents and those on the pitch.”
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