Rally over Gorleston prom car parking plan

PEOPLE from across the borough and beyond are being called to man the barricades for a mass rally in protest of the borough council’s plans to allow cars to take over a slice of Gorleston’s lower prom.

The placard-waving protest is being staged next Saturday as a show of defiance that aims to spread the word about the controversial scheme - vociferously opposed in Gorleston where opponents argue it would “deface” the scenic seafront, untouched for decades.

A three week consultation period officially starts today, with notices posted at the site and full plans showing the layout of the proposed car park available on the borough council’s website and at its Yarmouth offices.

Meanwhile on Saturday runners gathered to spell out the word ‘NO’ to the proposal next to the yacht pond - an act campaigners say is just the start of the fight to safeguard the character of Gorleston and fend off the proposal.

More than 100 runners taking part in the weekly 5km event, which would have to be re-routed if the plans were approved, were joined by local people including mothers with pushchairs and dog walkers.

Parkrun director Chris Harbord said: “Most runners were up in arms when they heard about the plans and I wanted to do something to show the strong feelings.

“However we are just one protesting voice and there are a lot of other people opposed to it.”

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On Monday evening at the Kevill Arms a group of 20 people lead by Dennis Durrant of Brett Avenue, met to discuss the best way to oppose the borough council scheme and step up the campaign.

Mr Durrant said: “There were many concerns including danger to children who love to run around and play in this area and the chaos that will be caused by more cars trying to manoeuvre through the restricted area, some looking for a space, some backing out, together with children and adults coming from the beach to the shops. We were also concerned about the damage that would be caused to the focal point of our seafront which is a conservation area – a row of cars ruining the ambiance of a beautiful panorama.

“The general feeling was that we needed to form a group to make every single resident aware of the council’s intentions and the effect they would have on our seaside beloved of most residents and many more from further afield.”

A second meeting on Monday will officially form the committee.

Retired businesswoman Sally Smith, of Victoria Road, was keen to add her voice to the mounting chorus of concern. She said: “The idea is really so stupid. There are about five people for it and 5000 against. Let’s hope the council listens.”

The mass rally is planned for Saturday October 29, 10.30am at the yacht pond site the council sees as a way of offsetting the loss of about 60 spaces on the pier.

Mr Durrant added: “This is a conservation area. If you deface the seafront it will not be good for business. There is no shortage of parking. The pier issue is totally different and the two should not be confused. We think we have a good case and that nearly all Gorleston people are behind us. We would like people from surrounding areas to get the message as well. It’s not just a Gorleston amenity.”

For updates on the campaign visit the dedicated page at www.gorleston-heritage.co.uk. To attend Monday’s meeting or for more information contact Mr Durrant on 01493 600452. The application number is 06/11/0617/SU.

See Letters p10/11/12 for more views on the issue.