Users of Cowey Sale car park will not be faced with parking charges after a U-turn by Elmbridge Council.

The council announced proposals in January to implement 60p an hour charges at the park alongside the Thames and Walton Bridge for six hours a day, seven days a week.

But after huge public opposition, and more than 780 people signing a petition, the council has agreed to scrap the plans.

Surrey Police also wrote to the council objecting to the plans, stating drivers would stop using the car park and begin parking in Walton Lane, which has no parking restrictions, and could cause further problems, such as obstructing views for other vehicles.

Chris Sadler, ward councillor for Walton Central, said: “We [The Walton Society] are delighted and particularly pleased to have the support from Surrey Police on this.

“I think that was one of our concerns that if people saw they were being made to pay for the parking, a lot of people would park in Walton Lane which would be dangerous.”

Councillor Andrew Kelly, who submitted a personal objection to the proposals, was delighted the proposals for Cowey Sale had been dropped.

He said: “Introducing charges should be all or nothing. Charging for one of them would be unfair. I think recreational grounds should be free. The riverside in a major part of Walton and it is important for all to enjoy.”

The council, which owns the car park and facilities at the Walton Lane site, initially said the charges would support maintenance costs.

Plans for charges at the Thamesmead car park, Walton, will also be scrapped following strong opposition.

Changes will be made to other car parks across the borough, with the introduction of a maximum stay of three hours at West End, Cobham, Elmgrove and Long Ditton recreational ground car parks.

A four-hour maximum stay is also to be implemented at the Ditton Reach car park.

The plans, which were recommended for approval, were to be decided at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening after this newspaper went to print.