'Lack of security could drive out firms'

PUBLISHED: 14:30 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:46 03 July 2010

Companies ferrying thousands of trippers to Great Yarmouth say vandalism and diesel thefts at the council's coach park could force them out of the resort.

Companies ferrying thousands of trippers to Great Yarmouth say vandalism and diesel thefts at the council's coach park could force them out of the resort.

Stephen Barber, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) said anecdotal reports of smashed windows and break-ins was tarnishing Yarmouth's image and putting off operators who faced passing on costs to cash-strapped customers which could affect bookings.

But Michael Chillingworth, borough council parking services manager who oversees Beach Coach Station, said he was bemused by Mr Barber's comments adding that the area was monitored by CCTV and manned.

He said: “Wherever you go you get the occasional kid being naughty and we have suffered occasionally but I do not know how much more that we can do apart from sitting there in a hut 24/7 which would be too costly in this climate. If they are aware of a spate then they should please let us know. The police are more than happy to review the tapes.”

Overall Mr Barber praised Yarmouth for being “coach friendly” and providing a good site close to the town's holiday heart and town centre.

He added that Yarmouth was more welcoming than many resorts but said: “The big problem they have in Yarmouth is the security at the coach park. People have had broken windows and diesel stolen and although its not unique to Yarmouth, general vandalism is expensive.

“If a driver drops his people off at a hotel on Saturday night and goes back to the coach Sunday morning to find a window smashed it means he cannot take them out on their trip and that damages peoples' view of Yarmouth. It's only got to happen once or twice and an operator may not want to return.

“Really what we are saying to Yarmouth is that we give a big tick for the beach coach facility but please please do something about the security.”

Mr Barber's comments about Yarmouth were part of a wider initiative to encourage towns to put the welcome mat out to coaches and boost provision at a time when the CPT believes people will be looking at cheaper holiday options.

Coach holidays are said to offer the most cost-effective form of public transport and last year coach operators carried an estimated 273 million passengers.

Beach coach station in Sandown Road was resurfaced two years ago and has space for around 100 coaches, toilets and facilities for washing vehicles. It is manned from 8.30am to 9pm in the summer and 3.30pm to 8.30pm out of season.

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