Anger rises as council debates Great Yarmouth residents’ parking

FURIOUS shouting echoed around Great Yarmouth council chamber as Tory councillors stoked the fire over the town permit parking debate.

Charles Reynolds, cabinet member for tourism and parking, incensed town centre councillors by maintaining the Zone A scheme is underused and should be scrapped.

He added by April 2012 it would have lost the town more than �340,000 - set up in 2007 - if continued.

Residents of the seafront area of town have been fighting to save the scheme, which restricts visitor parking outside their homes, and Labour councillors, including Mick Castle, say people have not been allowed their say in the future of the scheme.

But Mr Reynolds told Tuesday’s full council meeting: “A year ago we went through the investigation of parking needs and there were hardly any replies.

“Councillor Castle can make this personal if he wants to, but I was given a job to do as part of my portfolio.

“Towns like ours are going to need every brass halfpenny that we can get hold of over the coming years.

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“I’m not going to be the man who says ‘let’s carry on’ and throw away another �90,000 next year - that’s totally wrong.”

The county council is conducting a consultation to determine the fate of the permit scheme.

Leader Cllr Steve Ames said the consultation process was open and copies of documents were sent to Labour councillors before its official launch.

But Labour councillor Michael Jeal reacted furiously, saying the first he had seen of the consultation documents was after it had begun.

Former mayor Mr Jeal stood up and shouted at Mr Ames: “If I gave you my word, I would burn in hell before I broke it.”

Mayor Barry Coleman was forced to step in to take the heat out of the situation, saying: “If there’s an issue you do need to take up, you need to do so privately man to man.

“This council isn’t the place for these things.”

Cllr Castle, Labour councillor for central and Northgate ward, was also angered by suggestions that the permit scheme was underused.

He said: “The residents permit parking zone has helped regenerate the area between the Market Place and the Golden Mile - it’s loss would be unthinkable - forcing down property prices, making rented properties harder to let, denting council car park revenues and cause an ugly parking free for all that would turn the clock back to the bad old days.”

But Cllr Reynolds found support for axing the scheme from Tory cabinet member for transformation Barry Stone.

He said: “Throughout the lifetime of the residents parking scheme it’s had a low uptake.

“It hasn’t had the take-up that is now being bandied about - that it is so popular that it will devastate the area if it is withdrawn.”

The deadline for comments on the consultation is January 13.