Proposal for parking on Gorleston seafront prom

A PROPOSAL to extend parking along Gorleston’s lower promenade is drawing concerns about the loss of a popular amenity in the heart of a conservation area and the safety of trippers.

The borough council scheme involves marking out 44 new spaces for vehicles on the hard-surface area up to the paddling pool, currently used by seaside skateboarders, children playing games and real promenaders taking a walk.

John Burroughs, whose council ward includes the popular spot said the extra free spaces would be a boost to businesses and of benefit to everyone visiting the beach offsetting the loss of around 60 spaces on the pier, adding: “I am quite pleased about it.”

But Gorleston campaigner Dennis Durrant, of Brett Avenue, said parking was only a problem in the peak summer weeks and there were plenty of spaces at all other times.

Philip Gunn of Buxton Avenue said he was worried about the loss of “a unique community facility” and also the timing of the scheme, which could be decided before a crucial public meeting called by Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis on November 21 to discuss the possibility of reclaiming the pier car park.

“Are they implying it’s a done deal and that the car park will not return at the pier?” he said.

Meanwhile head of community services at Great Yarmouth Borough Council Simon Mutten said no decision would be made until the six-week consultation period had finished.

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Council leader Steve Ames said: “I would hope the proposal is accepted in a positive way as it opens up the area for more people to enjoy. It will be ideal for less mobile people wanting to go down and enjoy the beach. There is an opportunity to increase the parking and we are hopefully going to take it.”

Mr Burroughs said: “We have been working on it for a couple of years. We lost those spaces at the pier and we did try to do it couple of years ago but there was a concern about the weight.”

Appropriate measures for pedestrian safety, including for those arriving at the beach via the slopes and flights of cliff stairs were part of the application he said, adding that children using the paddling pool were not at risk.

Mr Durrant however predicted “total chaos” with the amount of traffic circulating in a compact already at its limit.

“Everyone I have spoken to is totally against it,” he said. “Once they find out how dangerous it is with 44 extra cars they wont be able to cope and eventually we will have cars exiting at the Ravine.”

Members approached officers asking them to prepare a scheme to potentially turn part of the lower promenade into parking. People can raise there concerns as part of the normal planning process.

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

Currently, parking for people visiting the beach is classed as on-street and falls within the responsibilities of Norfolk County Council, including sought-after spaces close to the shops and Pier Gardens.