Plans submitted over bid to introduce parking charges at Roman Fort
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010
Budget pressures are forcing the guardians of some of Norfolk's most treasured heritage assets to introduce parking charges at its sites.
Norfolk Archaeological Trust (NAT) manages multiple sites across the county spanning burial mounds, forts, and monasteries, all of which are free to enter.
The charity says its small membership and changes to the way it is funded have resulted in a dip in income.
To make up the shortfall and allow it to maintain its sites and keep them open to the public it is proposing to charge for parking.
The first of its sites bidding to introduce fees is Burgh Castle Roman Fort, which is popular with dog walkers many of whom tread its trails daily.
Documents submitted to Great Yarmouth Borough Council in support of the bid say the income is much-needed to pay for upkeep and maintenance.
It also wants to install a number plate recognition camera to deter fly-tippers and cut criminal damage.
The trust said it had engaged with the public and listened to feedback.
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As a result likely charges would be £1.50 for two hours, £2 for four, and £4 all day.
Brian Swan, chairman of Belton with Burgh Castle Parish Council said he understood the trust's position but had concerns about safety with people parking on narrow Butt Lane to avoid paying.
The clash of cars and people with dogs had the potential to cause a serious accident, he said.
NAT’s director, Natalie Butler said in a statement: “We think that introducing better car park management at the Fort site will also bring benefits to the local community.
"The last few months have seen some difficult challenges at the Burgh Castle Fort site, with anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, an escalation of fly-tipping and littering, and visitors’ cars occupying the car park long after it should officially have been closed. We think that our plans for managing the Fort car park will reduce these issues and provide a safer site for local people.”
People have until December 7 to have their say.
Telling the story of Norfolk
NAT's other sites are:
Caistor Roman Town - once the largest Roman town in East Anglia
St Benet's Abbey - an atmospheric ruin on the Norfolk Broads near Ludham
Burnham Norton Friary - a 14th century gatehouse
Bloodgates Hill Fort - an iron age fort describe as "enigmatic"
Fiddler's Hill Barrow - a prehistoric burial mound
Binham Priory - one of Norfolk's finest monastic sites
Filby Chapel - the site of unitarian church an 18th century grave slabs
Middleton Mount - the remains of a small motte and bailey castle
Tasburgh Enclosure - a "mysterious" site and the least understood of the trust's monuments.
To find out more about Norfolk Archaeological Trust or to donate visit the website at www.norfarchtrust.org.uk.