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Setback in car park battle

PUBLISHED: 17:20 25 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 03 July 2010

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for seasonal car park charges to be dropped faced another setback after their proposals were thrown out at a council meeting.

A group of Caister residents and councillors are protesting over charged for parking on the Beach Road car park from April until October.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for seasonal car park charges to be dropped faced another setback after their proposals were thrown out at a council meeting.

A group of Caister residents and councillors are protesting over charged for parking on the Beach Road car park from April until October. They said it was causing holidaymakers to park in residential roads, creating congestion.

Labour councillors Marie Field and Patrick Hacon took letters detailing a list of grievances to the Great Yarmouth Borough Council's car park steering group last Friday.

However, the group cited £13,000 had been generated from 11,000 tickets at the car park this year, and that work would soon have to be carried on resurfacing the car park, and this required funding.

Tim Howard, officer in charge of regeneration and environment, said: “This is an important facility for Great Yarmouth and Caister. Though we've spent very little on it, it will require significant investment in the next few years of between £10,000 and £55,000.

“For eight months of the year parking is not charged, but we do know that the problem goes on all year, and that it's not just visitors. There are other causes at work here, and the county council could do more in that respect.”

Mr Hacon said the car park was mainly used by dog walkers because of its distance from the centre of Caister, and that people would be prepared to pay towards the cost of resurfacing the site.

He added it would be a nice gesture towards Caister that would help the village, before drawing comparisons with Gorleston Cliff car park, from which charges were withdrawn after a public outcry.

However, Conservative councillor Charles Reynolds said: “Dropping the charge would not solve the problem. Drivers would still not park in Beach Road because of its proximity, and it's totally irresponsible to chuck away that kind of money.”

The rejection follows more than a year of unrest among some residents about the charges, and last September a petition called for them to be scrapped gained 266 signatures.

Cllr Field, who has led the protest, said: “They did not give any thought to residents' concerns at all. If we could not get a free car park then I hoped they would have helped these people some other way, such as through parking permits, but they got nothing.

“There was no democratic viewpoint at all. It was a very sad day for Caister residents.”

She added they were still hoping for a proper inquiry and revealed a letter has been sent to the local ombudsman and they were hoping for a reply early January.

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