The decision to introduce car parking charges at a popular park has been branded as “short-sighted”.

Dave Vaux, 39, wrote to the Mayor of Watford immediately after the Watford Observer announced that charges would be brought in at Cassiobury Park; a decision made by the Cabinet at Watford Council on Monday night.

Mr Vaux, from Watford, urged the Mayor to reconsider the decision. He says he can “easily” spend six hours at the park.

He said: “I use it all the time. I even had my wedding reception there last year. I take photographs of wildlife so it’s easy to walk off for a few hours. It should be kept free.

“We all saw it coming ever since the machines came in but I still think it is short-sighted and I’d also describe it as an arrogant decision.”

In his email to the Mayor, Mr Vaux said: “I’m disgusted to see that the council have voted for the highest charges on the table for people to park at Cassiobury Park. There is already a system in place to deter commuters from leaving their cars there for extended periods but this is designed to do nothing other than cynically bleed money from the pockets of average.

“I urge you and the council to reconsider this move and I would appreciate knowing why you think that charging people to enjoy a public green space is ok. As we already know that stopping commuter parking is not an excuse here and with the vast amount of money recently spent on the park, how is punishing poorer or regular users of the park with this charge an acceptable move?”

Mayor Taylor responded quickly quashing any possibility of a reconsideration.

He replied: “We will not be reconsidering this decision. I regularly receive requests to increase the size of Cassiobury Park car park. This will mean that we can do that and maintain the park to a high standard.

“It will be free to park here for up to 2 hours. Two thirds of park visitors visit for under two hours. I think asking visitors to pay £2 for 3 hours of parking or £3 for 4 hours of parking is reasonable. This is certainly cheaper than many of the car parks to other similar sites in our region. For example it costs £4.50 for any stay at Aldenham Country Park and there are also charges for parking at the Verulamium car park in St Albans.

He added: “Watford Council’s income has been dramatically cut by central government, by a further £3m following £5m of cuts already made in recent years. In the next financial year we will have no central government support grant what-so-ever. This means that councils have to make tough decisions.”