Great Britain

Cones go up outside Teesside Airport as free parking is scrapped

A CONTROVERSIAL move to scrap three hours free parking at Teesside Airport has seen measures added to stop people from dropping off visitors outside.

Traffic cones have been added right along St George Way, which leads to the entrance of the terminal car park, after parking charges were quietly brought in on Wednesday.

Under a new "drop-off" tariff, drivers must now pay £2.50 for the first 15 minutes, rising to £5 for the first hour and then £7 an hour thereafter.

Previously, charges only applied after the first three hours had expired, while up to eight hours parking at the time cost just £5.

Read more: Teesside Airport SLAMMED after scrapping three hours free parking

But measures have been added to prevent those from trying to avoid using the now chargeable drop-off area, due to what bosses have said are "safety" concerns.

The Northern Echo: Picture: NICK GULLONPicture: NICK GULLON

A spokesperson for Teesside Airport said the measures had been taken to stop drivers taking unnecessary risks, using the kerbside as an unofficial drop-off point. 

They said: “The safety of our passengers is our number one priority.

"To prevent any motorists or individuals taking unnecessary risks when visiting the airport, we have placed cones alongside the road to prevent kerbside drop-offs and any accidents that may arise from this."

This week, Teesside Airport was slammed for scrapping the offer of free parking offer, and instead replacing it with a chargeable tariff.

Furious customers hit back describing the move as "outrageous," while some pointed out that three hours worth of parking would now set them back £19.

On social media, one person said: "Gobsmacked by the outrageous charge for our next door neighbour to drop us off at the airport. Made me very grumpy." 

Meanwhile another said: "Shame, though inevitable, to see Teesside Airport join almost every other airport with some hefty parking fees including charging for drop offs.

"Three hours free parking is no more, now costs £19! £2.50 to drop off is pricey - especially with very few public transport alternatives."

That prompted the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and airport managing director, Phil Forster to defend the charges, saying that parking remains the most competitive in the area.

The Northern Echo: Phil Forster, Managing Director at Teesside Airport Picture: JIM SCOTTPhil Forster, Managing Director at Teesside Airport Picture: JIM SCOTT

Mr  Forster said fees had been commonplace across other airports as he said funds from the drop-off fee would help pay for upkeep of the area.

He said: “Fees like these are commonplace across the entire aviation industry and as we continue to grow our airport they will remain under review to make sure our passengers are getting the best value for money.

“Due to the anticipated increased footfall as our airline partners continue to introduce new routes on a regular basis, we have decided to implement a dedicated drop-off zone."

Justifying the charges, Mr Forster added that he believed such a drop-off zone would help traffic moving smoothly and keep visitors safe.

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