UNPOPULAR proposals to create "micro park and ride" schemes at car parks in Palmer Park, east Reading, and Clayfield Copse, Caversham, have been abandoned following a public backlash.

Deputy council leader, Tony Page, made the surprise announcement after Derek Bradfield, of Reading Athletic Club, presented a petition signed by more than 500 people against the Palmer Park scheme.

Cllr Page said controversial plans to introduce pay and display charges in place of free parking were also being scrapped and that the announcement is expected to be ratified by the Labour cabinet later this month.

He said recreational users, sports organisations and residents groups had highlighted their "extensive use" of the two car parks, and added: "This is a council committed to listening. There are undoubtedly spaces available during the day but it has become apparent that there are times when they are not sufficient."

The plans attracted widespread outrage, including from Caversham Park Tennis Club at Clayfield Copse, dog walkers, cricketers and footballers, who argued they would struggle to find spaces and be put off by the charges. Cllr Page said the decision was also made in light of the council receiving more than �20m from Government last week for sustainable transport initiatives.

He said the council will concentrate its efforts of finding "major" park and ride sites outside of the borough - including Mereoak Lane, in Grazeley, where it is developing plans with neighbouring Wokingham.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Bradfield said: "It's just brilliant, common sense has prevailed. I think they have been inundated with people opposed to these plans."

Peppard councillor Richard Willis, who spoke at a public meeting on the Clayfield Copse scheme in front of more than 100 people on Monday, added: "I'm delighted. It just shows what can happen when elected councillors, local groups and residents all work together. Hopefully it is the last we see of this proposal."

Cllr Mark Ralph added: "I am delighted that these plans have been withdrawn. They ran entirely counter to the interests of the local community. "