Gorleston’s pier car park to open this month

CAMPAIGNERS have won a three-year battle to repair Gorleston’s pier car park, as hotel bosses say it will reopen this month.

The popular seafront car park has been surrounded in controversy since it closed in June 2009, after it was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.

But after a ten-year lease was signed between Ian Scott, managing director of the Pier Hotel, and owners Great Yarmouth Port work has begun this week on levelling the site.

It will then be resurfaced and white-lined and have lighting and pay-and-display machines installed.

And the 131 space car park is set to open to the public this month.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to make a start on the work at last,” said Mr Scott. “Parking on the seafront is proving difficult even this early in the season and opening the harbour car park will go a long way towards alleviating the pressure.”

Gaping potholes could be seen across the site before work began, and prom parking had been suggested as an alternative.

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Hundreds of campaigners staged demonstrations at the seafront to object to the prom parking proposals, but after a heated public meeting in November 2011 residents were given some hope.

For Mr Scott announced he had opened negotiations with the port last year with a view to taking on a lease and carrying out repairs.

The news was welcomed at the meeting - attended by more than 300 people - and the lease was finally signed by both parties this week.

“It might seem as though we’ve taken a long time to get to this point but these things are never as straightforward as you think,” said Mr Scott.

“The good thing is that the car park will be open for the summer season, and that will benefit not only visitors but all the businesses near the beach.”

Campaigners who attended November’s meeting have written letters to the Mercury in recent weeks, questioning the lack of developments in the six months following the announcement of repair plans.

And this week’s announcement will come as a welcome surprise.

November’s meeting held at the Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston, was chaired by Great Yarmouth Mercury editor Anne Edwards and featured a panel including former Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader Steve Ames, former deputy leader Charles Reynolds, Norfolk County Council cabinet member Graham Plant and managing director of the borough council Richard Packham.

Eliza O’Toole, deputy chair of Great Yarmouth Port, had told the meeting: “As a port company, we are delighted to work with the council at their request and to offer the opportunity of a 10-year car park maintenance and management lease on a peppercorn basis to a third party.”