Permit scheme must be axed to allow fresh start, says Yarmouth parking chief

A WAR of words erupted after under-fire parking chief Charles Reynolds rejected a final bid to save permit parking.

Campaigners hoped the Zone A scheme - which restricts visitor parking outside homes in the seafront area - could be improved during a year’s monitoring period.

They reasoned it would be cheaper to improve the scheme than pay to abolish it, consult and implement a new one.

But the scheme has cost taxpayers more than �340,000 since 2007.

And Mr Reynolds told Monday’s town hall meeting that the permit scheme is so flawed it must be axed to allow for a fresh start.

Mr Reynolds told the campaigners: “I accept what you’re asking for, but it will never happen or this will go on and on.

“We’ve got to scrap it and start again.”

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He added the scope of the scheme is too vast - and does not focus on problem parking hot spots - and that it is not economically viable.

The committee recommended the scheme be axed at the end of March 2013, but Mr Reynolds said he “could not guarantee” that a new improved permit scheme would be in place by then.

This has angered campaigners after a consultation - which had 441 responses and showed 57.6pc of respondents wanted to save the scheme.

Michael Jeal, councillor for Nelson ward, fumed: “I wasn’t going to say anything as I’m wasting my breath as you’ve already made your mind up and decided what you want to do.

“Consultation means they have to ask you but don’t take any notice of what you’ve said.”

Barry Stone, councillor for Lothingland ward, around Bradwell, said: “I find councillor Jeal’s remarks quite offensive.”

Mr Jeal retorted: “I’m glad.”

Yarmouth councillors backed Mr Jeal, with Mike Taylor, councillor for Central and Northgate ward, saying the consultation turnout was strong.

He said given low levels of car ownership and that forms were not printed in any foreign languages the turnout was high.

Recommendations from Monday’s advisory car park strategy steering group meeting will go before cabinet on April 11 and then if approved will go to Norfolk County Council for a final decision.

If the scheme is axed, a working group will be set up to review all aspects of parking for residents and businesses, looking first at the seafront area and Priory Plain.

Campaigners see eye to eye with Mr Reynolds over the need to improve the permit scheme.

But Peter Fitzgerald, vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Residents Association, said: “There’s one glaring difference - we think we should keep the scheme.”

As reported, Mr Reynolds could face an official investigation after a number of official complaints about his conduct were made to the standards board.