Long queues to vote in Cromer parish poll over North Lodge Park car park plan

The queue to vote outside Merchants' Place, one of the two polling stations for the Cromer Parish Po

The queue to vote outside Merchants' Place, one of the two polling stations for the Cromer Parish Poll. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Voters in Cromer are forming long queues this evening as they wait to take part in today's parish poll on a proposed car park for the town's North Lodge Park.

Merchants' Place, one of the two polling stations for the Cromer Parish Poll. Picture: ALEX HURRELL

Merchants' Place, one of the two polling stations for the Cromer Parish Poll. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Some electors said they had been waiting for 45 minutes in a stiff wind and had seen people give up and leave the queue.

The polls opened at 4pm and will shut at 9pm during which time registered voters in Cromer and Suffield Park will have the chance to answer 'Yes' or 'No' to the question: 'Do you wish to see any part of North Lodge Park converted into a car park?'

The poll, demanded by electors at a public meeting last month, follows North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) application to build a 48-space car park on the park's old tennis courts.

NNDC has been heavily criticised for several years over its alleged neglect of the much-loved park, once a major tourist attraction in the resort.

Andrew McCandlish waiting to vote in the Cromer Parish Poll. Picture: ALEX HURRELL

Andrew McCandlish waiting to vote in the Cromer Parish Poll. Picture: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant


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The council, which will decide its own application, is not bound by the results of tonight's poll.

Andrew McCandlish was among those queuing outside Merchants' Place, on Church Street, one of two polling stations. The other is at Bullen's Joinery, on Central Road, where similar queues have been reported.

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'I'm against a car park there,' said Mr McCandlish, who had queued for 45 minutes.

'I think the district council has mismanaged the space. They could have done something much better than a car park.

'The problem we have with traffic discipline and a restricted junction on Norwich Road will get even worse if it goes ahead.'

Sheila Cox said she would be voting 'a definite and resounding 'no'' to the question.

'Why spoil what should be a children's playground, like it used to be?' she added. 'I think they definitely will turn it into a car park though, whatever we think.'

Roy and Caroline Jennings are also opposed to the car-park scheme. 'People come to Cromer for its tourist attractions - they don't want to see car parks everywhere,' said Mr Jennings.

His wife added: 'During the summer, with buses everywhere, it was absolute chaos every day on Overstrand Road. A car park would make it even worse.'

Chris Boddy, one of those spearheading opposition to the car park, said they had become aware that some disabled voters were unable to get to a polling station and his fellow opponent, John Edwards, was trying to organise transport for them.

A similar poll in 2007 saw 94pc of those who voted oppose earlier plans for an NNDC car park which were later shelved.

Cromer Town Council is bearing the £1,756,84 cost of today's referendum.

The town council voted earlier this month not to send informative letters out to all households about the poll as this would have added between £2,744 and £3,550 to the bill.

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