CONSERVATIVES have urged Middlesbrough Council to row back on proposed car parking changes.

An independent review has recommended a two hour free parking offer is removed from car parks at Zetland and Station Street, while charges across city centre car parks will go up.

But in a letter Conservative councillors say it will drive people away from the town centre and to out-of-town retail parks.

Two hours free car parking was introduced by former Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon and now Darlington Council has followed suit in a bid to emulate its success.

Councillor Jacob Young said: “It will be like signing a death warrant for our high street.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: “At a time when we need to do all we can to support our high streets, I find it incredible that Middlesbrough Council want to axe free car parking.”

The council has suggested the Zetland and Station Street car parks are used by commuters and says it is aiming to make car parking fit for purpose for Middlesbrough’s “city-scale” development aspirations.

The car parking review will be considered by Middlesbrough Council’s Executive on Tuesday July 12.