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Traders' anger at pier car park closure

PUBLISHED: 13:44 24 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:08 03 July 2010

ANGRY traders this week voiced a chorus of disapproval over the controversial closure of Gorleston pier car park.

Business owners say the decision of pier owners EastPort to shut the car park has reduced their takings throughout the summer season.

ANGRY traders this week voiced a chorus of disapproval over the controversial closure of Gorleston pier car park.

Business owners say the decision of pier owners EastPort to shut the car park has reduced their takings throughout the summer season.

The loss of the parking spaces at the popular wave watching spot has been blamed for causing traffic chaos along the seafront.

Hundreds of customers have also added their names to petitions at shops, pubs, cafés, restaurants and amusement arcades on the quayside and Esplanade.

Marcelle Swann, who owns Marine Amusements, the Marine Bay Café and Ocean Bay Amusements, said: “The parking situation put people off coming down during the summer. There are simply not enough spaces now, why the council don't open up the area around the yacht pond is beyond me.

“Drivers cannot get down here, it has affected everyone's trade and lots of customers have complained about the situation. We were not told anything about the pier car park shutting - there has been a total lack of consultation.”

Maggie's Takeaway owner Maggie Lawrence has also witnessed the traffic problems first hand. She said: “We need every bit of parking we can get down here. I often see people driving around looking for a space and then they disappear. My uncle tried to visit recently, but could not find anywhere to park.”

Dimascio Ices owner Christian Dimascio blamed the closure of the car park for reducing takings during what should be the busiest period for the business.

“We would definitely be taking more money if there were extra parking spaces,” he said.

Customers at the Harbour Breakfast Bar have been adding their names in droves to the petition, organised by Gorleston resident Dennis Durrant.

Owner Emma Bullock said: “Just about every one of my customers has signed the petition - we have about 10 pages of names. Our private parking spaces often get blocked by cars. It has got better recently, but is still really congested down here at weekends.”

The car park closure has also been a hot topic of conversation amongst the drinkers at the King William IV pub on Quay Road.

Tony Bargus, one of dozens of customers to sign the petition, said: “There are so many cars down here at times it is impossible to get a space. I used to use the car park a lot and enjoyed watching the fishermen.”

Bar worker Gail Bensley added: “I came down here with my two boys on a Sunday recently and all across the seafront was full of cars. I live just off Cliff Street and it gets very congested there too and this definitely needs addressing.”

Elderly and infirm customers at the Pier Garden restaurant frequently have to walk long distances from their cars according to owner Hazel Watts.

She said: “Our customers are not happy - they used to like driving over to the pier to read the paper or look at the sea. I think people would even be prepared to pay to park on the pier if it stopped them having to drive around.”

More than 300 names have now signed an online petition on the website of prime minister Gordon Brown.

To sign the online petition visit www.gorleston-heritage.co.uk or www.gorlestonpavilion.co.uk.

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