Three car parks in a County Durham town that have operated with zero charges to motorists will soon charge customers to park after two hours and will be monitored by CCTV.

The car parks that have been chosen are three of seven that offer free parking to visitors in Newton Aycliffe which provide parking beside the town centre, leisure centre and other local amenities.

Motorists who park on Central Avenue, Greenwell Road (to the rear of the shops) and at the front of Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre will be charged after two hours by automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR).

The land which holds the three car parks is believed to be privately owned and does not currently hold any signage indicating its ownership. 

A leaflet circulating on social media shows the plans in more detail, stating that the system would be installed "early in the new year" on the basis that the result will be a "higher turnaround" of spaces.

The Northern Echo: Leisure centre car park.Leisure centre car park. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

The Northern Echo: Central Avenue car park.Central Avenue car park. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

Whilst the plans have been announced, it is not yet known how much the new charges will be or when the new system will come into force.

Pictures of all three car parks taken on January 3 show that no cameras had yet been installed.

Cllr Arun Chandran, Chairman of Great Aycliffe Town Council's Policy and Resources Committee had expressed his concern about the plans.

The Northern Echo: Greenwell Road car park.Greenwell Road car park. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)


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He said: "I am concerned about the impact this might have on town centre employees and shop owners, as well as putting off shoppers which could decrease footfall in the town centre.

"I am also concerned that this may be just another income generator for the town centre owners following the failure of the levelling up bid."

The Northern Echo sent questions relating to the implementation of charged parking in Newton Aycliffe to the private landowner but did not receive a response.

A public meeting discussing the charges will take place at Great Aycliffe Town Council on January 31.