Radical overhaul of on-street parking under consideration in King’s Lynn
- Credit: Matthew Usher
People living on the Springwood estate in King's Lynn might have to pay £40 for a parking permit to tackle problem parking, while hundreds of people could be forced to pay to park on the riverfront.
Under new proposals drawn up by Norfolk County Council, on-street pay and display parking could be introduced at South Quay and King's Staithe Square.
Meanwhile, several options including residents' parking permits are being considered to tackle Queen Elizabeth II Hospital staff and visitors parking for free on the Springwood estate.
Council chiefs want to implement the changes in the autumn, but say that no parking restrictions would be introduced unless the majority of people are in favour. Residents have until April 4 to comment on the proposals.
Council bosses say that commuters currently use the free parking on offer at South Quay to stay all day, with congestion caused by motorists looking for free parking.
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They claim the proposals will help businesses by improving the turnover of parking spaces and reducing the number of cars touring the area looking for free parking.
If introduced, the charges, after the first free 30 minutes, and hours of operation would be similar to those in off-street borough council car parks.
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People are also being asked to comment on the introduction of a residents' permit parking scheme in the area to allow permit holders to park in shared use bays. There would be a charge of about £40 a year for a resident permit, and £25 for a visitor permit.
Phill Reilly, project engineer , said: 'We want to generate parking turnover and are keen to match the 30-minute bays within the town. If people wish to stay longer than 30 minutes and have a meal, they can do so. There will be more flexibility.'
But opponents say it will hit motorists who work in the town and cannot afford exorbitant parking costs, and target staff who cannot park for free at the QEH.
Businesses said they would adopt a 'wait and see' policy to see what effect, if any, it would have.
Greg Newson, supervisor at Marriott's warehouse in South Quay, said: 'I don't think the effect would be bad. I know a lot of people who go to London on the train from Lynn and park there all day, and it would affect them. I can see that people looking to park there for free holds up traffic. It's really 'wait and see' what happens.'
Meanwhile, hospital staff and visitors are using the Springwood area to park for free for long periods, the council claims, which has raised concerns among residents, causing problems with deliveries, obstruction of private access, and obstruction of verges and pavements.
After an initial round of consultation last November, the county council and the Springwood multi-agency group, which includes representatives of the QEH Trust, police, the borough council and county council, have put forward three possible options to tackle the problem.
These options are to create a restricted parking zone where waiting and loading restrictions apply without the need for yellow lines, introduce residents' permit parking, with permits costing around £40 per resident permit, and £25 for a visitor's permit, or waiting restrictions where double yellow lines could be used at particular points on the roads within the estate.
Martin Chisholm, business manager at the borough council, said the debate over parking on the Springwood estate had been the most 'impassioned', and said the changes needed to be sufficiently strong to deter all but the hardiest of people looking for free parking.
Tim Edmunds, highways network manager at Norfolk County Council, said: 'The feedback now is that it's not right, and there's a desire to do something about it.'
Letters and a questionnaire have been circulated throughout the area asking residents for their views on the best way of solving the parking problem.
West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said: 'I get more letters and emails about parking than any other subject.
'We are continuing to work with the county council on ways to maintain the vitality of the town centre, and are keen to up the footfall and spend within the town.'
Since 2011 Norfolk County Council and West Norfolk Council have worked together through the Norfolk Parking Partnership to provide on-street parking enforcement. The Springwood estate and South Quay are the first areas being looked at. Proposals for King's Lynn town centre are also well advanced, and consultation on these is scheduled to begin in April.
Responses, which have to be with the county council by April 4, can be made free of charge by post, or - provided a full address is included - by email to email@example.com. There will be a further opportunity to comment if the consultation allows the county council to bring forward more detailed proposals.
What do you think of the proposals? Email reporter David Bale at firstname.lastname@example.org