POOLE council has been urged to discard plans to introduce parking charges in seafront roads and town parks by one of its own committees.

A crowd of around 150 protestors gathered outside the Civic Centre last night before packing out a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee, which was discussing the proposals to introduce charges on seafront roads in Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Park, and at Hamworthy, Ham Common, Lake Pier, Newfoundland Drive and Whitecliff parks.

To applause from residents attending, members agreed by majority votes to discard the officer's recommendation that the two proposals be taken on for further development, and instead to urge the cabinet to throw the plans out.

However, the committee agreed that similar plans for Upton Country Park would be recommended for further development.

Cllr Peter Pawlowski, who put forward the motions opposing the seafront and park parking plans, said: "I feel somewhat sorry for the officers having to sit here and try and justify this on the grounds of being about transport and safety. This is actually about raising revenue.

"I propose a recommendation to cabinet that they stop this now. This is a dead duck."

Members argued that the schemes would unfairly penalise poorer residents and deter them from visiting the beach and parks, that they would not raise much revenue when costs were taken into account, and that they would not alleviate traffic congestion or lead to more people taking up public transport.

The committee heard that the projected surplus for the park charges scheme was £28,000, to which Cllr Philip Eades said: "We have annoyed thousands and thousands of people and had huge petitions to get in what is no more than petty cash."

In the case of Upton Country Park however members argued that the charges could be used to reduce the park's annual council subsidy - which the committee heard was around £400,000.

The committee's recommendations will now go before the cabinet, which meets at the end of June.

Cabinet members may decide to follow the recommendations and discard the proposals without further work, or it could decide to continue the plans.