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Villagers celebrate move on car park

PUBLISHED: 11:21 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:09 03 July 2010

PARK FREE: The Beach Road pay and display car park at Caister.

PARK FREE: The Beach Road pay and display car park at Caister.

A CAMPAIGN to make a Caister car park free of charge to motorists may have been successful, after a borough councillor agreed to look at ending parking fees for the next summer season.

A CAMPAIGN to make a Caister car park free of charge to motorists may have been successful, after a borough councillor agreed to look at ending parking fees for the next summer season.

Villagers living in Beach Road and Manor Road had supported Caister councillor Marie Field's call for the removal of pay and display at Beach Road car park to put a stop to visitors taking spaces outside homes to avoid charges.

A petition supporting the move and signed by 266 residents was presented to councillor Graham Plant, cabinet member for regeneration and tourism, who has said the council might consider suspending charges next summer to see what the effect would be on the parking situation.

He is also looking to arrange a meeting with Caister parish councillors to see if they would be willing to take over the long-term running of the car park.

Ms Field said: “I am absolutely delighted with Cllr Plant's reply. It gives me the response that I want for the people I represent. He is proposing to remove car parking charges for summer 2009 and is talking also about entering into discussions to hand the car park over to ownership by the parish council.

“The people of Caister have won.”

But Cllr Plant warned there would be a shortfall in the borough's budget if fees were ended next summer, which could be on a similar scale to the £8,950 it made from the car park during the six months from April to October this year.

He said if the parish council wished to operate the car park without charging it would have to increase its precept in the council tax bill unless the losses incurred could be covered from its existing budget.

If the free car park does not solve the parking problems, then Mr Plant suggested fees ought to be reintroduced and an alternative solution sought such as double yellow lines down the residential roads or no waiting signs.

He said revenue gleaned from the car park this summer showed it was being used by tourists and it was likely to be fellow residents who were cluttering the village streets with their cars.

Out of the sum gained this year, £3,000 pays for maintaining the car park while the rest goes to the council.

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