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Circus chief to offer free parking

PUBLISHED: 13:04 26 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:58 03 July 2010

Yarmouth impresario Peter Jay has fuelled the debate over the borough council's decision to massively increase parking charges on the Golden Mile by announcing free parking to all customers who attend his Hippodrome circus this summer.

Yarmouth impresario Peter Jay has fuelled the debate over the borough council's decision to massively increase parking charges on the Golden Mile by announcing free parking to all customers who attend his Hippodrome circus this summer.

Council chiefs defended the April 1 increase from £1 an hour to £1.50 for the first two hours and £2 an hour after that as a way of encouraging visitors to use cheaper, long-stay car parks and thus prevent the blocking of limited spaces on the central seafront.

However, Mr Jay, who owns several tourist businesses, accused council chiefs of “losing the plot” and deterring visitors already hit by the recession.

He set up a have-your-say website - www.sea-front.co.uk - that has already attracted several angry comments regarding parking from both traders and visitors.

“It is the response to the website and from the people I have spoken to on the seafront that has encouraged me to offer free parking,” he said.

“I think as a town we should be promoting free parking and I am hoping my idea will give the council food for thought.”

Anyone spending more than £30 on circus tickets - the cost of two seats - will be able to claim £5 off for parking.

Mr Jay said: “The customer is king and we feel we should do something at the circus to help with the big cost of parking. Our offer will cover the cost of the long-term car parks or help to offset the horrendous rise in the cost of short-term parking which I will still be campaigning to reduce.”

He will also be helping people who travel to the circus by bus from local holiday parks with a similar subsidy.

The circus, running from July 16 to September 6, will be a celebration of Mr Jay's 30th season at the Hippodrome.

He said: “By the offer I hope to bring many new people to Yarmouth - not just to see the show but to have a great day out at the seaside.”

Council cabinet member Graham Plant said it was Mr Jay's personal decision to offer a parking refund and wished him success with it.

However, he questioned whether it could ever be economically viable for the council to take a similar approach.

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