Brakes slammed on Mundesley pub’s pay and display parking plan
- Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY
Angry locals claim a pub in north Norfolk could drive customers away if it becomes one of the first in the area to introduce pay parking.
However, planning officials have put the brakes on the plans for the Ship Inn at Mundesley after it emerged the scheme - in a conservation area - did not have the necessary permission.
Lancashire based firm ParkingEye, which claims to be the UK's leading ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) management company, has applied to North Norfolk District Council for retrospective permission to install a pay and display machine, associated signs and equipment, in Beach Road.
It claims the cameras are needed to clampdown on the abuse of the privately owned 64 space car park car park by visitors to the neighbouring beach and shoppers, while freeing up more spaces for customers who it stressed would continue to be able to park for free.
Responding to criticism of the scheme on the Ship's Facebook page, a spokesperson says: 'I would like to reassure everyone that parking at the Ship will remain free for all pub and hotel guests. Once the system is up and running we ask for you to enter your car reg details on the digital screen in the bar.
'The charges will only apply to people wishing to use the car park for visiting the village or beach.
'As for the barriers; we are in talks with the parking company to have it replaced with something a bit more in keeping with the pub.
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'The system is not in operation yet so please do not feel discouraged for using the pub and car park as normal.'
They add: 'The feedback we received when we first took over was that a lot of holidaymakers use the car park all day to go to the beach in the summer, leaving genuine customers unable to find a space. With the (new) system we hope that we can control it a bit better. However, if it doesn't work we can always get rid of it.'
Objections to the plans disappeared from the council's website over the weekend.
However, customers have been quick to voice their concerns.
Commenting on the pub's Facebook page, Steven Scott-Wilkins said: 'What on earth has happened to this lovely pub? Parking charges for locals and visitors alike? Have they put razor wire around the back fence in the garden just in case?'
Ed Chambers said: 'Captain's Table along the coast at Wells tried something similar, it caused a lot of bad feeling/complaints and they have now closed down.'
Other customers have threatened a pub boycott if the charges are driven forward.
Paula Black said: 'Glad to see the barriers have gone but due to the new parking arrangements I have not been to the pub. I used to visit every Saturday after taking the dog for a 20 minute walk on the beach but can't do this now due to parking restrictions.
'The dog still gets its walk but I park in the council car park and then drive home or to another pub. Please rethink the parking arrangements, they may alienate more people than you think.'
Not everyone thinks pay and display parking at the pub is a bad idea however.
James Moore said: 'In defence of the system I would also imagine it may actually mean pub guests will have more of a chance to park and will increase footfall for the pub. Pubs need support of the local community and drive trade at key times, without shoppers who have no interest in going to the pub parking for free.
'Don't forget parking does appear to be free if you are using the pub, similar to some supermarkets that do this via a receipt.'