Confusion has been raging on Facebook over proposed changes to car parks across Wokingham Borough, which includes the suburbs of Woodley and Earley.

Posts on Facebook community groups such as the Woodley Residents Discussion Group expressed fears that new charges will be introduced at the town’s car parks in the future.

The confusion surrounds notices that have been put up in car parks across the borough about a consultation into changing how the car parks operate.

It has meant that councillors from Wokingham Borough Council have had to jump in to set the record straight.

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Councillor Andrew Mickleburgh (Liberal Democrats, Hawkedon) writing on the Earley Residents Discussion Board, told members he sought clarification from the council on the proposed changes which affect Laurel Park Car Park, which is accessed off Instow Road in Earley.

His post on the Facebook page contains a statement from the council stating that there are no proposals to introduce charging to use the car park, which is free.

Proposed changes to how car parks will operate throughout the borough are part of a consultation the council is conducting, which involves revising Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO).

The council has said that it is doing this to make it easier to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the car parks.

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen (Conservative, Hillside), the council’s executive member for highways said: “We need to find ways to help the police tackle the ASB that has been happening in some car parks.

“At the moment we can’t do that because, technically, the car parks are not technically ‘operational’ at night – so we don’t have powers to kick people out of them.

“The proposed new TROs would make the car parks ‘operational’ 24/7 – so we could take action when needed.

“It is important to point out that this does not change car parking charges at all – either in terms of when people have to pay or how much.”

The proposed changes involve:

  • Changing operating hours so the council can take action against anti-social behaviour and misuse of car parks by extending the operating hours to ‘at all times’ Monday to Sunday (including bank holidays).
  • The new TROs will remove a number of off-street car parks no longer run by the council including the Elms Road multi-story and The Paddocks Wokingham car parks. The council is creating a separate TRO to manage the borough’s four park and ride sites at Coppid Beech Park and Ride, Mereoak Park and Ride, Thames Valley Park and Ride, and Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride.
  • The TROs will also allow the council to designate electric vehicle charging parking bays in any off-street car park.

Additionally, the  council is introducing 15 minutes of free parking at Dinton Pastures Country Park Activity Centre Car Park and 30 minutes of free parking in the visitor bays at the council offices in Shute End (Mondays to Fridays 6am to 6pm).

A statutory consultation on the changes is open until Thursday, October 7, and the council will receive comments on the consultation until midnight on Sunday, October 10.

Residents can give their views by emailing the council’s traffic management team on

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Written notices of the consultation have been posted in the car parks, which has led to the confusion.

Cllr Shirley Boyt (Labour, Bulmershe & Whitegates) has taken photos of the notifications.

Her photos show the notices tacked onto pay & display boards, with one notice being ‘hidden’ behind a bin.

Bracknell News: Councillor Shirley Boyt's photo of one of the consultation notices being 'hidden' under a bin at one of the Woodley car parks. Credit: Councillor Shirley BoytCouncillor Shirley Boyt's photo of one of the consultation notices being 'hidden' under a bin at one of the Woodley car parks. Credit: Councillor Shirley Boyt

More information can be found by going to the council’s website and searching for ‘traffic regulation orders’.