Proposed shake-up of Yarmouth parking charges could help tourism but cost season ticket holders

A SHAKE-UP of parking charges across the borough could see special tourist passes introduced and the summer tariff in Caister fall in a bid to boost tourism - but season ticket prices are set to rise.

The raft of changes, which are to be voted on at a full council meeting on January 3, aim to “attract visitors and shoppers to Great Yarmouth” but would penalise office workers.

Borough council officers say the measures to encourage tourism are needed as income from parking fines has dropped.

With season ticket prices set to rise from �55 to �70 per calendar month, the changes would cost commuters and regular visitors an extra �180 per year.

A council report recognises the season tickets are “largely purchased by office workers” but states demand is too high and if it is not restrained spaces could be lost to short stay shoppers and visitors.

The season ticket price rise would apply to all town centre car parks except Fullers Hill, where there is a proposed increase from �25 per month to �30.

But officers argue that the new increased rate still offers a “substantial saving to regular users”.

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Under proposals, the Caister summer tariff would fall from 60p to 50p per hour “in recognition that the surface of the car park could be better”.

And pay and display machines, which a council report says are “susceptible to regular failure”, are also set to be replaced with new machines which accept credit cards.

Funding for the new machines would come from a bid under the council’s capital programme.

The plans to boost tourism were heard at a borough council cabinet meeting on Wednesday, and members moved the proposals to be voted on at full council next year.

Charles Reynolds, cabinet member for tourism and parking, explained that new 72 hour car park passes will be trialled as a step-change towards introducing eight-day “rover” car park passes aimed at tourists.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, he said: “We wanted to look to assist people for the short breaks.

“This is purely an experiment to see how it goes. We hope it could be an ongoing rolling thing.

“We will try it and see how it pans out at the end of the year.”

The 72 hour passes would be sold for �10 from the seafront tourist information centre and would be valid from midday on a Friday to midday on a Monday.

The council report says “this should appeal to short stay visitors”, and the scheme could be rolled out to include �20 eight-day passes sold in shops and hotels if it is a success.

All changes would begin from April 2012 if plans are approved.

What do you think about the proposals for car parking? Email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk or write to Great Yarmouth Mercury, 169 King Street, Yarmouth, NR30 2PA.