Yarmouth seafront permit parking consultation says save scheme

MOST Great Yarmouth seafront residents who took part in a consultation, want their permit parking scheme to be saved.

But Cllr Charles Reynolds, borough council cabinet member for parking, hopes to push ahead with plans to scrap it as so few people made their views known.

He says the Zone A scheme - which restricts visitor parking outside homes in the seafront area - will have lost the town more than �340,000 by April and needs to go.

But proposals to axe it went to consultation before any decision could be made.

More than 3,000 consultation letters were sent out and just 441 responses were received - a response rate of 14.4pc.

Of these, 57.6pc wanted to keep the permit scheme, 39pc wanted it axed and 3.4pc gave no answer.

Mr Reynolds said: “The fact of the matter is more than 85pc of those questioned did not respond so I don’t really see it as the issue it’s been drummed up to be.

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“Cllr Mick Castle must be extremely disappointed with the returns.

“Despite one of the highest profile campaigns I’ve seen for a long while - with Mr Castle out on the streets knocking on doors - more than 85pc of people don’t perceive this to be a problem. We’ve said this all along.

“We feel vindicated by the fact so few responded.”

He said the consultation had not changed his mind about wanting to axe the scheme.

But while few people responded, campaigners say the council should respect the views of those who did respond.

Peter Fitzgerald, vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Residents Association, said: “You can analyse the results until the cows come home, but we’ve got to respect the people who responded.

“We will go round and round in circles otherwise.

“Mr Reynolds is looking for the chink in the armour of this consultation but we need to look at it in terms of democracy.

“Where do we stand if we can’t rely on simple democracy?

“I just want to bring this back to common sense.”

He pointed out that of the 41 stakeholders approached, the four who said they wanted the scheme scrapped are all Tory councillors.

The eight who said they wanted the permit scheme saved include Norfolk police, Great Yarmouth Tourist Authority and Great Yarmouth Residents Association.

Mick Castle, councillor for Central and Northgate ward, said he was pleased with the outcome of the consultation.

But he warned people to be wary of “dirty tricks” as a decision over the future of the scheme has not yet been made.

The results of the consultation are to go before a steering group at the borough council on March 12.

A motion will be written up to go before the next cabinet meeting, and once the borough council has voted on its preferred action it will be put to the county council.