DURING a packed public meeting more than 200 residents vented their fury over the borough council's parking permit scheme in central Ellesmere Port.
Some homeowners were forced to watch from outside the doors because of the large number of people crammed into Flatt Lane Community Centre on Friday night.
The two-hour meeting gave people living in the 'Fields' area of the town, who are deeply concerned about the constraints of the scheme, the opportunity to air their views.
As a result, hundreds of residents have vowed to stage a demonstration outside the Civic Hall before tomorrow evening's full council meeting in a bid to halt the introduction of the scheme next Tuesday.
People are incensed they will only be given one permit per household - despite many owning more than one car - as well as having to pay for extra visiting passes for family members.
Many claimed the scheme was a cynical, money-making move, while a number of elderly people who are dependent on daily care visitors said they feared the initiative would damage their quality of life.
Several residents said that, by being forced to park one of their vehicles in an unattended car park, they would be in breach of their car insurance agreements which stipulate they must park at their home address.
Representatives from White Heather Estates in Whitby Road raised their concerns that the scheme would devalue residents' homes. They said a number of prospective buyers had already backed out of viewing properties in the area because they would require more than one permit.
Woodfield Road resident Gary Fallows, who set up the meeting, said: 'A lot of great points have been made and we want to put them together as part of a big package to present to the council, along with petitions from every road affected.'
Central ward councillors Catherine Sherlock and Marie Lewis came in for criticism for not attending the meeting and have been inundated with calls from residents during the past fortnight.
Both said they couldn't attend due to prior engagements, but Cllr Sherlock said the scheme is 'not set in stone' and there was room for change.
Cllr Ian Ormerod, who was asked to chair the gathering on behalf of the residents, said: 'This meeting shouldn't have had to be called by the residents. It should have been called by the council.'
The council's head of property and support services, Jane Williamson, said: 'Our plan has always been to
monitor and review residents' parking to make sure the resulting schemes meet the needs of the majority of residents.
'We look forward to receiving the comments gathered on Friday night and will be giving them careful consideration.'
A second public meeting on the issue is scheduled for the Civic Hall on Monday, March 6, at 7pm.