AN Essex county councillor has stated he will “fight tooth and nail” to make sure a controversial North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) scheme does not go ahead.

Chris Siddall, the county councillor for Halstead, has raised his concerns over the NEPP’s possible new pay and display system which may result in the town losing free parking spaces.

Parking spaces in the High Street and at the Centre could be affected if the system is implemented.

Currently motorists can park for free for up to an hour between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday, at these two locations.

Halstead Gazette: Caring - Councillor Chris SiddallCaring - Councillor Chris Siddall (Image: N/A)

Both Halstead residents and the town council have openly criticised this scheme which is set to go to consultation.

Mr Siddall is offering his support to the town.

He said: “I was totally shocked to learn about the potential charges for parking on Halstead High Street and the Centre just off the High Street.

“This in my opinion is a totally backward step, and I have made NEPP aware of this.

“Anything that detracts visitors to the town in my mind is not thought through.

“I have been promised that this is not a done deal.

“Residents and shop-keepers in Halstead will quite rightly be given the opportunity to make their thoughts clear in a consultation process which will be announced soon.

“I will fight tooth and nail to make sure this does not go ahead, and I am not alone as councillors in Witham, which is also being threatened with the same parking scheme, feel exactly the same.

“I urge all residents and shop-keepers to watch out for the consultation and make objections.”

Halstead residents previously took to social media to comment on the "ridiculous" scheme.

Jo Clayman said it could be the "final nail in the coffin for the town".

She said: “That will kill an already struggling town.

“Independent shopkeepers need support not more reasons for customers to buy online.”

Kevin Ringrose agreed and also believed it would hinder tourism in the town.

He said: “Apart from Killing off the High Street, this will drive whatever tourism the town has away."