Outcry over bid for extra parking In Gorleston

A PUBLIC outcry over controversial plans to extend parking along Gorleston’s lower promenade is aiming to spark a re-think.

People writing to the Mercury have tagged as “vandalism” the revived scheme to add 44 spaces to the hard surface area close to the paddling pool and yacht pond and within the seaside conservation area.

The proposal has won few backers among readers who have fired off angry letters voicing their shock at the “disgraceful” scheme they say would spoil the charm of a unique area and be a safety hazard for children dashing from the beach and pool to ice-cream shops.

One reader tagged as “complete and utter madness” the sweeping away of an amenity area where youngsters can safely play and learn to ride their bikes.

Meanwhile Great Yarmouth Borough Council has yet to decide the best way to consult on the scheme, which has been prepared by its own officers at the request of members.

Cllr Bert Collins, whose council ward includes the seaside strip, said worries about the safety of children close to the popular paddling pool used by generations meant he was unable to support the scheme, adding: “We have enough free parking at Gorleston without intervening.”

Cllr Trevor Wainwright, who represents Magdalen ward, said he was unable to comment because he sits on the powerful planning committee that will make the decision. Although he had been contacted by several residents, he would make his mind up nearer the time when he had seen the plans and heard all the arguments.

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Cllr Marlene Fairhead, who represents St Andrew’s ward, said there was plenty of parking for able-bodied people along Marine Parade and roads radiating from it and that access for the less mobile could be resolved by adding disabled bays.

“I do not feel they have looked at it correctly,” she said. “There are lots of other options like increasing the disabled parking. Above all, there are plenty of spaces where people can park and walk down but only two disabled parking spaces.

“We have a long prom with lots of parking. To get 44 spaces in they will have to have parking on both sides but there’s not even a parking problem in Gorleston.”

Margaret Ward, of Gorleston action group START, said she was preparing to resist the proposal.

“It detracts from the attractiveness of the area and except in exceptional circumstances there are enough parking spaces there. The car park by the lifeboat station is free but heavily underused and at one point I did ask them to signpost it more positively.”

Cllr John Burroughs, who represents Gorleston, told the Mercury last week that adding 44 spaces would bring benefits to the resort.

Peter Warner, head of planning and business services at the borough council said on Tuesday that a planning application had been received but was still being validated, with planners asking more questions about the position of bollards.

He added that it would be advertised on the site shortly. People will have three weeks to comment. The final decision will be taken by members of the development control committee.

If approved the new spaces could be ready for the 2012 summer season.

See READERS’ Letters: Pages 10/11/12 & 13