July 31 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Coach drivers who bring thousands of tourists to Wells every year are considering avoiding the town due to a lack of parking facilities.
The news has prompted urgent efforts to bring a coach park back to Wells.
Wells lost its coach park on Polka Road last year when work started on building the Co-op supermarket and plans for a neighbouring petrol station were proposed.
The site was sold by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to the developers and no plans for a replacement coach park were made.
Town councillors have expressed frustrations and are working to find a solution.
In the short term the town council will try to bring the Polka Road coach park back into use as soon as possible, as the petrol station plans have been delayed.
Town clerk Greg Hewitt aims to begin discussions with developers The Lindum Group in the next few days with the view of retaining the Polka Road coach park for five months so it is in use for Wells’s peak tourism period.
Town councillor Pauline Catton is looking to set up a steering group with representatives from NNDC, the highways authority and the Holkham Estate, as prominent landowners in Wells, to find a long-term solution.
Coach drivers are currently parking where they can on the side of Polka Road, but struggle to find anywhere during busy periods.
Mrs Catton, who has been speaking to coach drivers and photographing the coaches to build evidence of the need for a coach park, said: “I’ve lived in Wells my whole life and there are more coaches coming here now than I’ve ever known.
“One coach driver from Norwich told me he was considering writing to the Confederation of Public Transport telling drivers not to come to Wells because there is nowhere to park.
“That is the last thing we want. The coach drivers bring thousands of people into Wells every year, even in the quiet periods when the Thursford Christmas show is on.
“It is difficult because there are not many suitable places available but we have to do what we can to find a solution.”
A spokesman for NNDC said: “We are happy to participate in any discussions with the town council and other relevant organisations.
“We have written to the town council requesting evidence of the need for a coach park and not had a response but we will be interested to see what this meeting brings.”