ANGRY West Hagley councillor Steve Colella has hit out at proposals by West Midlands Railway to introduce car parking charges at Hagley train station.

No date has yet been given as to when the charges will come into effect.

But Cllr Colella insisted the decision would have massive implications for the area and he said: "Motorists will likely try and find the first free parking space closest to Hagley Station, which will in turn cause conflict with local residents.

"I'm disappointed that there has been no consultation over the decision. It's as though the parking charges have been introduced as a matter of course.

"There is already considerable congestion in the area owing to the fact there are two schools nearby with an estimated 3,000 students. This decision will only make the situation worse.

"Notices appeared at Hagley Station indicating the introduction of car parking charges. But just as quickly as the notices appeared, they were taken down. It was as though the initial announcement was deliberately buried.

"The proposal is mind boggling complete nonsense and totally short-sighted with absolutely no regard for the likely impact.

"I understand they are proposing to charge somewhere in the region of £4 to £4.50p per day which is likely to add over £1,000 to users of the rail network and for some people, this won't be easy to come by.

"I expect commuters will be quick to use the shoppers' car park, blocking essential spaces. It's a disaster all round.

"What has happened to sustainable, integrated transport?

"I don't want to get into the merits of privatisation verses nationalisation but this is a matter of profit over the well being of the commuter and those that live close to stations."

West Midlands Railway have responded with commercial director Andy Camp saying: "These charges are part of a wider improvement programme for our station car parks and we are in discussion with the relevant local authorities.

"The charges will help reduce 'rail-heading' when motorists drive extra miles to avoid charges, preventing local residents from accessing the station.

"We want to make all our stations easier and safer to use and our £60million investment programme looks beyond the station boundary.

"Every station is undergoing a sustainable transport review and we are also investing in 2,760 more cycle spaces across our network."