Posted: Wed 22nd Jan 2020

Extra parking set to be created at Wepre Park as visitor numbers swell

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 22nd, 2020

Extra parking looks set to be created at a country park in Flintshire following a large growth in visitor numbers.

Issues have been reported at Wepre Park in Connah’s Quay over the last few years with the current car park filling up on a regular basis.

Residents living nearby have become angered by visitors parking on the road and preventing them from getting in and out of their homes.

The issue hit crisis point last weekend when the country park, which is a popular destination for walkers, was showcased on the websites of several English news outlets.

It led to an influx of day trippers from areas such as Liverpool and Manchester.

Flintshire Council is now looking to address the situation by adding an additional 80 parking spaces as a short term measure.

The local authority’s deputy leader Carolyn Thomas said work will be carried within the next fortnight on a section of the park, next to the existing car park.

Grass will be removed and textile laid under membrane which will then covered with aggregate. 

She said: “We’re trying to promote people being healthy and getting out into the countryside, but then we’ve got issues with congestion and it’s such a shame.

“A reporter put an article in the Liverpool Echo and our head of countryside said he’s seen an increase since that article was produced.

“He also said that Wirral Council are enforcing that dogs have to be kept on leads and they don’t have to here so that could be another reason.

“We think for this interim measure it will cost us about £20,000, but it’s probably more affordable than getting temporary covers like you get for events as they can be more expensive.

“We thought if we do this now then we can use the temporary car park as a base for when we can get funding for a permanent solution.”

The country park is estimated to attract in the region of 200,000 people each year.

Its rise in popularity has been aided by a large investment to improve the 160 acres of green space, including more than £660,000 in lottery funding.

Local councillor Ian Dunbar, who lives round the corner from the park, said residents had been subject to abuse from some visitors but welcomed the extra parking.

He said: “I’m over the moon with what they’re going to do now to alleviate the problem for the people who live here.

“It gives those people safety because they can’t get across the road.

“We’ve got them parked on both sides and nothing can get through.

“We’ve had fights, we’ve had arguments, we’ve had road rage and we’ve had all sorts.”

The council is also encouraging people to ditch their cars and walk to the park or consider visiting other countryside locations.

Cllr Thomas said she was keen to avoid introducing parking charges and has urged people to act responsibly.

The Labour environment portfolio holder said: “People are saying about putting charges on this car park, but I don’t want to do that because I think it’s really important that people can access the natural outdoors.

“We need to ask people to be more responsible when parking outside.

“If there’s no room in the car park, please don’t make the roads a dangerous hazard for people.

“We’ve got a lot of country parks like Greenfield Valley and we’ve got three car parks there.”

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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