Poll: Would you be prepared to pay for more on-street pay and display parking in Norfolk?

A traffic warden handing out a parking ticket on Mount Street in Cromer. The town could see an incre

A traffic warden handing out a parking ticket on Mount Street in Cromer. The town could see an increase in on-street pay and display parking. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Drivers could face more on-street pay and display parking across Norfolk under proposals being drawn up by council bosses.

The move would see an increase in restrictions, particularly in the county's seaside and market towns.

But councillors are warning officers at Norfolk County Council that there is a risk that bringing in more charges could 'kill the golden goose' and damage business in those towns. King's Lynn, Sheringham and Cromer are among areas where officers are consulting over more pay and display and resident permits, while reviews are planned in other towns.

Council officers acknowledge they need to make the enforcement service self-funding as they made a £185,000 loss between April last year and March this year.

Almost 38,000 penalty charge notices were issued to drivers across the county, excluding Norwich, with more than £640,000 generated. On street parking and pay and display fees in Great Yarmouth brought in another £350,000.

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But the council's goal is for the cost of operating civil parking enforcement, which it delegates to district councils. to be covered by the money which is brought in.

Officers have been looking at how to increase the financial sustainability of the scheme - which they say could be done by 'improving operational effectiveness' and better management of kerb line parking.

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In a report which came before councillors yesterday, they said that could 'include the provision of more on-street pay and display in many of Norfolk's seaside or market towns'.

But Toby Coke, UKIP group leader and chairman of the council's environment, development and transport committee, said: 'It's obviously a very fine line between discouraging people going into the market towns and killing the golden goose.'

Liberal Democrat John Timewell said: 'I think the golden goose is being very heavily plucked at the moment. I think we need to support our market towns and the viability of retail centres. I think we cannot be too greedy about this.'

But Tim Edmunds, the county council's highways network manager, said: 'We are not heavy handed and look at this with compassion. When we look at these things it is not about finding a golden goose.

'Some of the feedback from some market towns and town centres is that people can now find a parking space, which actually helps regeneration.'

Conservative Bill Borrett agreed. He said Swaffham, Attleborough, Thetford, Watton and Dereham, where parking is free, had been helped by enforcement.

The possibility of more pay and display in Sheringham and Cromer town centres and sea fronts, along with resident permits, is about to be consulted on.

And Sheringham Chamber of Trade and Commerce secretary Andy Bullen said the chamber was not happy about the proposal from a business perspective.

He said: 'It would have a negative impact on people coming into the town and would reduce the income from the North Norfolk District Council-owned car parks. Permit parking would reduce the opportunity for shop and office workers to find parking spaces.'

Changes in King's Lynn, including near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, at South Quay and in the town centre, are also in the pipeline.

Norwich carries out its own civil parking enforcement. Just over 19,800 penalty charge notices were paid last year, generating just over £760,000.

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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