A WINCHESTER councillor has criticised the changes to parking in the city centre.

As previously reported, nearly half of the car parks now charge on Sundays.

Cllr Fiona Mather asked why more has not been done to protect residents' spaces from the extra demand.

She said: "Why were measures to protect central Winchester residents’ parking spaces from extra demand from non residents, as a knock on effect from the abolition of free off road Sundays and evening parking, not in place when the new charging regime came in force?”

At a cabinet meeting on November 4, Cllr Martin Tod said that he has not received widespread reports of this being an issue.

He said: "Free-off road Sunday and evening parking has not been abolished. As explained on the variable message signs coming into Winchester and on signs in each of the car parks, it remains free to park in Park and Walk car parks such as Chesil Street and Worthy Lane.

"Over half the car parking spaces in Winchester remain free every evening and on Sundays.

"We have now had two weekends of the new system and as you would expect we are monitoring the impact of these changes and improved the signage after the first week.

"After two weekends of operation we have not received reports of wide spread issues for residents or visitors linked to the introduction of new charges, and income received from the first two weekends gives evidence that drivers are prepared to pay to park in the centre, whilst also enabling those who wish to help improve the air quality of the city centre to park for free in the Park and Walk car parks.”