Stevenage football fans anger over council’s ‘money grabbing’ parking scheme

The charges are being introduced by SBC

The charges are being introduced by SBC - Credit: Archant

Football fans have reacted angrily to parking charges set to be introduced this season.

Stevenage Borough Council is set to start charging people a flat rate of £5.20 to use Fairlands Valley Showground in Stevenage, next to the Lamex Stadium, on match days.

The charge, which has not yet been implemented with no date set, must be paid via phone and applies to blue badge holders and any staff working at the stadium.

Stevenage FC and its fans have reacted angrily to the move.

Mark Hollis, lifelong fan, said: “They have gone about it in a very underhand way. No press release or warning. They are targeting us to get a few quid.”

Fan Josh Carter tweeted: “Nothing more than a money grabbing scheme as car park is rarely full. Even blue badge holders have to pay.”

BaldockBORO said: “Shameful decision by SBC to hit Stevenage Football Club fans including disabled with £5.20 parking fee. Result, more street parking anger and lower gate.”

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SBC defended its decision to introduce this charge arguing it will generate £15,000 from football fans, helping the council balance its books.

SBC said: “The new parking charge at Fairlands Valley Showground on match days is one of the measures we are taking to try and balance council budgets in the face of further cuts to our funding.

“Information about the introduction of this charge was published in our local media last November, and discussion with the football club commenced nearly a year ago. The football club have made us aware today of their concerns and we are in continuing dialogue with them.

“Stevenage Borough Council has given Stevenage FC both financial and ‘in-kind’ support for many years. We are continuing to work with the football club management to support our local community.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said: “Stevenage Borough Council’s addiction to car parking charges is ridiculous. They already take more than £3 million a year in car parking charges, which is preventing the regeneration of Stevenage town centre. Now they are targeting football fans, just at a time when Stevenage FC are trying to build their supporters base. It is unfair on football fans and the club, but it is most unfair on local people who live in nearby roads. We all know that very few people will want to pay the charges and look to park in nearby roads, which will make match days a nightmare for local residents.”

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