Walkers protest against proposed changes to Isle of Wight Council parking charges. Picture by Laura Holme.
HUNDREDS of protesters gathered at Appley Beach, Ryde today (Sunday) to show their anger at plans to introduce parking fees at Appley and Puckpool.
A large crowd including scores of dog walkers met at Appley Tower before walking along the seafront in a mass demonstration against controversial IW Council proposals which would scrap free parking at Appley and Puckpool car parks.
Protesters fear that axing free car parking at the popular car parks would cause nearby cafes to lose business and would deter tourists and locals from using Appley Park and the seafront.
They were joined at the protest by Ryde North East councillor, Wayne Whittle and Island MP, Andrew Turner, as well as Ryde East councillor, Roger Whitby-Smith.
Judith Culverwell of West Hill Road, Ryde, said charges would deter people from coming to the park and the seafront.
She said: "Everybody wants to enjoy Appley and that includes residents who live in Ryde and people who have businesses here. It is going to be quite costly to pay for the car park. People will not be able to afford to go into Ryde and use the shops. Residents need somewhere to park for a short time just to enjoy the area."
Bruce Yaxley of East Hill Road, Ryde, added: "People will be forced to park on the side roads which is a bad thing."
Joan Dyer of Puckpool Close, Ryde, said: "We are paying £300 a year for our beach hut and now they want us to pay between £6 and £7 a day to park our car to use the hut."
Janet Reed of Ashey Road, Ryde said: "I need a car to get here. I walk my dog here. I feel sorry for the holidaymakers. It is supposed to be a holiday Island."
Protest organiser, Kate Barton, said there had been a 'brilliant' turn out for the demonstration.
She said: "The proposed parking charges are excessive. They are just too much. Ordinary people can't afford to pay them."
For the full story, please see Friday's issue of the County Press.