Fears Yarmouth parking could hit tourism

PUBLISHED: 18:54 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:34 03 July 2010

Fears over seafront parking changes

Fears over seafront parking changes

IN a week that parking charges have been increased on council-run seafront car parks, moves are being made to extend permit only zones, further reducing the number of free spaces.

IN a week that parking charges have been increased on council-run seafront car parks, moves are being made to extend permit only zones, further reducing the number of free spaces.

The doubling of parking fees from tomorrow has sparked fears that the predicted summer boom - with people choosing to holiday at home rather than abroad because of the credit crunch - could backfire with visitors being driven elsewhere.

And yesterday, Labour councillors were hoping to fire the starting gun over formal consultation for a second resident parking zone covering the town centre from Ormond Road to Friars Lane, something they say is supported by local people.

Leader Mick Castle said Labour party surveys showed three-quarters of residents experienced problems with parking near their homes and two-thirds would be willing to pay £25 for a permit.

Meanwhile fees in five short-stay car parks - the Euston, Empire, Jetty north and south and Marina sites - have been put up from £1 an hour to £1.50 an hour, then £2 per hour after two hours.

Yarmouth Borough Council said it was introducing new fees to encourage people who stay longer than an hour to use the town's cheaper long-stay car parks at St Nicholas, North Drive and Sandown Road, where prices will stay the same.

Graham Plant, borough councillor responsible for tourism, said seafront businesses should welcome the short-stay fee rise as it will increase the turn-over of vehicles using seafront car parks.

From today, the borough council will also be introducing free parking from 4pm in all town centre car parks in a bid to boost trade for shops.

The borough council's car park strategy group met today and Labour was expected to recommend formal consultation on new zones begins in 2009/10 with a view to being up and running in 2010/11.

Labour will also suggest a concessionary season ticket is available to local workers who could park at under-used council car parks.

Jonathan Newman, town centre manager, said councillors needed to think long and hard before introducing further parking restraints close to the shopping hub.

“Particularly in this economic climate, surely you don't want to do anything else that makes it more difficult for people to shop.

“There needs to be a complete review of parking facilities not just what there is, but who uses the car parks and when. Who is parking in residential areas and where would they be displaced to?”

Mr Newman said many people remained critical of the current permit system which only operates during the day between 8am and 6pm, leaving many streets with empty spaces throughout the day.

“Perhaps a review of the current scheme is needed to see if it is working,” he added.

Charges for other car parking in Norfolk include:

North Norfolk District Council

Coastal short-stay car parks - £1 for first two hours or £1.70 for maximum stay of three hours.

Waveney District Council

Seafront short-stay car parks - 70p for one hour, two hours £1.85, three hours £4.70, more than three hours (flat rate) £5.90, 6pm-11pm £1.50, 11pm-6am free.

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