Threat to increase cost of Yarmouth parking permits by �75

RESIDENTS have been warned the cost of their parking permits could increase by as much as �75 if the residents’ parking scheme continues in Great Yarmouth.

Councillor Charles Reynolds, chairman of Yarmouth Borough Council’s cabinet, told a meeting on Wednesday the annual cost could increase from �25 to �100 to eliminate the scheme’s annual deficit, which had grown from nearly �27,000 in 2007/2008 to �97,000 in 2010/2011.

But councillor Michael Jeal, who represents Nelson ward, one of the areas affected, and speaking on behalf of the permit holders, asked where Mr Reynolds had got his information from.

“That figure is from me, based on an official calculation,” Mr Reynolds replied.

The cabinet agreed to a recommendation to scrap the scheme which will now be considered by Norfolk County Council, which jointly administers it with the borough council.

However, a public consultation will be held before any formal decision to scrap permit parking and Mr Jeal called on the borough council to ensure there was a written consultation with all residents and not just a debate in the council chamber.

He said: “There are an overwhelming number of people who ring me and say they want to keep it and I have no doubt that when the consultation comes in there will be an overwhelming amount of responses.

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“All I ask is that the three ward councillors (in residents’ parking zones) have some input into the consultation. We would like to have a consultation and do it so it is fair to everyone.

“We don’t want the consultation to be in a council chamber, we want it to be a written consultation.”

Mr Jeal’s fellow Labour councillor Trevor Wainwright, asked if permit parking would continue if an overwhelming majority of those consulted supported the scheme.

The decision to disband the scheme is seen as a cost-cutting measure aimed at preventing residents and businesses from having to pay to park near their premises, while eliminating the scheme’s annual deficit of �97,000 in 2010/2011.

More than �50,000 of the 2010/2011 deficit is made up of departmental recharges, which include the day-to-day running costs of the scheme.

Last year’s deficit was paid for by more than �200,000 made from the seafront on street pay and display parking.

However, money saved from scrapping the scheme would be ring fenced and could only be spent by the county council on improving traffic systems in the town.

Currently, a resident’s permit costs �25 annually, while a business permit costs �100.

More than 610 residential permits, and 840 visitor permits, were issued between April 2010 and March 2011.

Seventy business permits and 140 business visitor permits were issued over the same period.

The decision on whether to scrap the scheme will have to have final approval from both Norfolk county and Yarmouth borough councils.