IMMINENT parking charges at a pub car park will be the first in Winsford.

The installation of the parking meter at the Wetherspoon-owned Queen’s Arms, has this week prompted a mixed response from residents, with blue badge holders also being forced to pay.

There was also some doubt cast on whether all car parking charges would be refunded to Wetherspoon customers under the new system operated by Euro Car Parks.

New signs warn that a fine of £45 will be imposed rising to £75 if not paid promptly.

The cost is set a 50p for up to one hour, with a note underneath stating that a refund of that tariff can be obtained if it is a pub customer spending £5.

The cost of parking up to two hours will be £1 and parking for up to three hours is set at £1.50, but no mention is made of a refund for customers paying these two tariffs.

Town Mayor Cllr Mike Kennedy said: “This action in implementing car parking charges is down to Wetherspoon and is purely a commercial decision that has nothing to do with the local authority.

“I understand they have done this because of shoppers parking there, which presumably doesn’t leave enough space for its own customers.

“I have to say that in all my time of shopping in the town I have never used that particular place to park.”

Cllr Kennedy said the pub car park had had approximately 24 spaces for able-bodied customers and six for disabled customers, but admitted to the Guardian that he is also puzzled by the refund only seemingly applying to Wetherspoon customers spending one hour at the pub.

He said: “When I was reading the tariff it struck me that customers are only entitled to a refund if they opt for the 50p parking tariff and I would have thought that anyone spending £5 at Wetherspoon’s could satisfy the customer refund stipulation.

“I will be speaking with the management at the pub to try to confirm what the rules are.”

Town councillor Charlie Parkinson added: “There is a big issue with parking in Winsford. This is nothing to do with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

“Wetherspoon’s is a private business and they can do what they like but there are already negative comments about the charging on social media, and I don’t think it will go down well.”

As we went to press, the Guardian was awaiting a response from the pub chain.