SHIBDEN Park boating lake might have to be drained if parking charges fail to raise enough money to cover the cost of rangers to monitor it.
The number of gardeners could also be slashed in a bid to make ends meet, Calderdale Council Cabinet was told.
Since May, the council has been charging £1 on weekdays and £2 at weekends to park at Shibden. It now proposes fees of between 30p and 70p an hour, from 10am to 5pm.
Community services spokeswoman Pauline Nash,said free parking was no longer an option if the council was to raise enough money to properly maintain the park.
“Without income from charges we would have to withdraw some of the rangers and gardeners, and without adequate staffing, there is a safety issue with the boating lake,” said Coun Nash.
The cabinet was geared up to sanction a pay-and-display parking scheme but was taken aback by the strength of opposition and has instead asked the communities panel to further scrutinise the proposal.
Lawrence Dobson, who runs Mereside Cafe at the park, said visitor numbers – and his takings – had fallen since the charges were introduced in May.
The owner of the park’s miniature railway said he too thought the absence of free parking had discouraged visitors.
The cabinet was told by communities director Robin Tuddenham an hourly rate of 70p was needed to balance the park budget.