ANGRY Stourbridge residents are up arms over the sudden lack of car parking spaces available to them in Mary Stevens Park.

Problems have arisen since Dudley Council's Children's Services department moved into buildings at Mary Stevens Park, bagging most of the car parking spaces in the process.

With the park rapidly reaching peak period for visitors, local residents believe they are being left out in the cold.

Councillor Heather Rogers, chairman of The Friends of Mary Stevens Park, said: "There will have to be a compromise. Ernest Stevens gave the park to the people of Stourbridge and we can't have people from Dudley Council monopolising all the car parking spaces to the detriment of everybody else.

"There is a greater number of council staff using the buildings but there must be some parking made available to the public.

"The park is extremely popular and attracts people from all over Dudley borough - not just Stourbridge. You would be surprised how far people come just to visit the park.

"I chat to people in the park on a regular basis and I'm always amazed just how much the park means to them."

Simon Sims, of Brook Crescent, said: " I walk my dog daily in Mary Stevens Park and find car parking near impossible. I've seen parents having to take their disappointed children elsewhere through parking issues. Surely this is not right.

"I only started using Mary Stevens Park because of the lack of parking spaces at Wollescote Park, due to social services and their staff taking up the parking spaces there."

The parking problems have arisen at a time when Mary Stevens Park is set to benefit from improvements following a successful heritage lottery bid which is only expected to attract even more visitors.

Both the bandstand. and tea garden are in line to be refurbished, while there are plans for a permanent tea room or cafe in the former print room.

Work will also take place on dredging the pool and renovating part of the wall on the Norton Road side of the park.

Cllr Tim Crumpton, cabinet member for children's services, confirmed more social workers had moved onto the Mary Stevens Park site and admitted there was an issue with car parking.

He said: "I know car parking is causing a problem and I would ask people to bare with us. We're trying to upset as few people as possible and I want to do what is best for all parties.

"There are already major car parking problems in the area and it's something we're looking to try and resolve.

"Nobody has priority over anybody else and maybe we will have to do a survey to see what is required."