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Residents' parking: hours to change?

PUBLISHED: 17:37 27 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 03 July 2010

MAJOR changes to Great Yarmouth's controversial residents' parking scheme are being considered in a bid to claw back a funding shortfall and make it work better for households

and holidaymakers.

MAJOR changes to Great Yarmouth's controversial residents' parking scheme are being considered in a bid to claw back a funding shortfall and make it work better for households

and holidaymakers.

Councillors this week were urging a rethink after it was revealed that permit parking, introduced amid strong opposition in 2006, was running at a £62,000 loss and draining trade away from the resort's holiday hub.

Early proposals include flipping the zone times and introducing pay-and-display to allow trippers to park during the day when many homeowners are away at work.

Other suggestions likely to be explored are putting up permit prices for both homes and businesses and introducing more visitor permits.

Speaking after Great Yarmouth Borough Council's car parking strategy steering group meeting chairman Graham Plant said that the current scheme was leaving streets empty during the day, frustrating visitors and shoppers who could not find anywhere to park.

He said: “Identified spaces could be freed up for pay and display, and consultation will reveal where there would be least disruption to residents' parking. We would also be looking at creating up to 40 parking spaces for pay and display zones around Artillery Square and Russell Square.

“The scheme started three years ago as an experiment with Norfolk County Council and it's still under trial to see how popular it would be and whether it's financially viable.”

“We're not there at the moment- we've got traders who aren't happy but residents who are because they can park whenever they want, but we are a holiday destination.

“We're trying to work with the labour group but we have to make sure that the town is a prosperous and vibrant one.”

Member of the steering group and Tory councillor Charles Reynolds said that the scheme had been a disaster for businesses along the seafront.

But Labour group leader Mick Castle said: “They really have not got a clue. They see Great Yarmouth as a parking lot for other people, and I can assure them if they tamper with the residents parking scheme there will be absolute mayhem - it's revitalised the area and it would set back the cause of Great Yarmouth.”

He went on to say that he had recommended year-on-year increases in the permit charges previously, before adding: “There are very few streets that are still being left empty, and if you went there now you would find most of the roads full of cars.”

Currently there are over 1,700 permit holders and a drop in the number of new people buying a permit and in fines for illegal parking with fewer people being caught out are being blamed for the shortfall.

Under the proposed changes permit holders will still be able to park close to their homes during the day, but will compete with pay-and-display visitors for spaces until 4pm when restrictions apply.

Phased increases from £25 for a domestic permit and £100 for a business permit to £40 and £160 by 2013, were also suggested in a report to the committee which met on Friday.

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