Fears Roman fort parking charges could lead to 'mayhem'

The ruins of the Roman fort at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth.
April 2016.
Picture: James Bass

Parking fees are set for the Roman fort at Burgh Castle - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A bid to introduce parking fees at a Roman fort in a Norfolk village has been recommended for approval by planners.

The Norfolk Archaeological Trust wants to install a ticket machine and an automatic vehicle number plate registration camera at the car park by Burgh Castle Roman Fort. 

The trust says the scheme will provide much-needed funds to help maintain the site, which is popular with dog walkers.

However the money-generating scheme has attracted strong opposition, with concerns raised over a loss of free parking and traffic chaos being caused on nearby roads.

The Butt Lane scheme is set to be discussed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council's development control committee on Wednesday and has been recommended for approval.

Planning papers to the committee say: "The applicant claims that revenue raised will maintain the site, and this will positively benefit the asset, and lead to it remaining publicly accessible."

However the papers also say the plan is coming before the committee due to the "considerable public objection raised".

Martin and Jenny Wilby trying out the new boardwalk that has been installed at Bugh Castle Roman For

A broadwalk near the Roman fort in Burgh Castle - Credit: Nick Butcher

Objections raised include a loss of free parking is a loss of a community asset and people will park elsewhere on unsuitable nearby roads to avoid the charges. 

Burgh Castle Parish Council has also objected to the plan and has sent in a statement which says "Car park costs will most definitely deter drivers from its use and subsequently will result in cars parked on these rural roads resulting in mayhem for motorists and parishioners.

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"Damage to roadside banks and verges will prevail.

"Residents in the area will be significantly affected by additional on-road parking."

The rector of nearby St Peter and St Paul Church, Rev Rosie Bunn, has also objected saying the charges would increase congestion at the church, which has a small parking space.

Burgh Castle Church in the snow.
Picture sent in by Roland Stagg.

Burgh Castle Church - Credit: Roland Stagg

The trust says it is hoped the fixed camera will also help reduce fly-tipping and other antisocial behaviour.

Planners also say the charges, which will operate 12 hours a day, are not likely to cause "severe highway impacts".

The proposed charges will be £1.50 for up to two hours, £2 for up to 4 hours and £4 for up to 12 hours.

The Norfolk Archaeological Trust says its small membership and changes to the way it is funded have resulted in a dip in income.