A bid to make the first 30 minutes of parking free in all car parks across the Epsom and Ewell borough has been voted down unanimously.

Epsom Town and Downs Conservative councillor Tina Mountain brought forward the motion at a budget meeting for the Environment and Safe Communities Committee on Tuesday night (January 29).

Cllr Mountain was accused of having brought forward an “ill conceived” motion, which would have enabled parents to park for just half an hour in car parks in an effort to cut down on congestion around the borough’s schools and improve safety for children.

But Cllr Mountain defended her proposal after the meeting, telling Epsom Comet: ”I was not embarrassed to bring this motion.

“I simply want a safe and healthy environment for our children. Gone are the days when women didn’t work and we need to facilitate this safely.”

She said that no other councillors on the committee had put forward alternative suggestions and added they showed “no concern for children travelling to school with cars mounting pavements, cars double parking or ambulances unable to reach emergencies.”

The proposed scheme was projected to cost up to £240,000 a year and concerns had been raised this would come as a blow to council funding when the car parks were already failing to meet their original finance targets.

During the meeting, Cllr Mountain said Cllr Alex Coley told the room how she had been “embarrassed” by its defeat.

But Cllr Coley denied having addressed Cllr Mountain this way.

Speaking with the Epsom Comet, he said he told the meeting: "These are difficult financial times. Surrey County Council has just closed 31 children’s centres.

"I would like to know from which magic money tree Councillor Mountain proposes we find this quarter of a million pounds?"

But Cllr Mountain drew attention to £1 million of council expenditure having gone towards repaving the High Street, £32,000 for a bus shelter, and £16,000 for table tennis tables.

Other risks highlighted in regard to the scheme in a previous council report included the chance of more abuse and threats towards car park staff and the expense of reconfiguring parking machines.