Sefton council is going ahead with controversial plans to start charging visitors to use Churchtown’s Botanic Gardens free car park at the Balmoral Drive entrance.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Churchtown and Crossens John Dodd said: "Introducing pay and display is just another unfair tax on families and less able people who enjoy the simple pleasure of a visit to the park.   My ward colleagues and I are challenging the Labour council's decision all the way.

He added: " When the newspaper advertisement public notices go out for consultation shortly, I urge everyone to write to Sefton Council stating their objections.  The Labour -run council also aim to stop people avoiding the new meters. They  want to put no-parking  yellow lines along stretches of nearby residential roads, which means that people would no longer be able to park their, or visitors, cars outside their homes without risk of a fine.

"Unbelievably, there is no forecast as to how much money they expect to get in return from creating this new pay and display car park. It's going to cost £27,000 alone to buy and install the meter machines, plus legal costs and painting yellow lines, making the total price £31,000. Also how much wasteful  time and expense it would  cost for traffic wardens to get from their normal rounds at the town centre miles away to snoop at Botanic Gardens.

"Various events for the public are staged regularly at Botanic Gardens, including brass band concerts and community activities. These attract tourism to Churchtown helping local shops, cafes and businesses.  Pay and display and double yellow lines will affect this and put off visitors.

"If it were not for the volunteers in Botanic Gardens, there wouldn't be any floral displays at all, following Labour’s decision to cut the jobs of 3 more full-time employees.  This car park nonsense is another inconvenience and slap in the face for locals who give their time freely."

It's proposed to operate pay and display between 10am and 5pm seven days a week charging 20p for 30 minutes, 90p for two hours and £1.70 up to 4 hours.

The car park is used by many people taking pupils to Churchtown Primary School and a special permit from the school will allow parents to use the car park free of charge between 3pm and 4pm. The morning drop off would not be affected as pay and display wouldn't start until 10am.