New bid to solve parking problems

Visitors to a Norfolk seaside resort may soon be allowed to park in streets currently governed by residents' permit schemes as part of a bid to solve parking problems in the town.

Visitors to a Norfolk seaside resort may soon be allowed to park in streets currently governed by residents' permit schemes as part of a bid to solve parking problems in the town.

New pay and display machines could be placed in streets around Yarmouth to give visitors extra spaces where normally only residents are allowed to park during the day.

The borough council's car parking strategy group came up with the idea, which would see the residents' parking permit scheme run in tandem with pay and display, but it still needs to persuade Norfolk County Council to adopt the plans. The group met on Wednesday to discuss the results of 2,000 questionnaires distributed to Yarmouth residents, which discovered a majority of the 395 respondents favoured keeping the current permit system.

Councillor Charles Reynolds said he wanted to find a solution for next summer, which would please residents, businesses and visitors alike.

"If we delay any longer we will keep coming back and not finding a solution, but if we make the zones pay and display we have got everything we want," he said.

"The residents get their spaces and those spaces that are not being used will be taken by visitors."

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However, hopes that a new system could be up and running by next summer could be too optimistic, a senior official at the county council warned.

Philip Schramm, engineer programmes and funding officer, said: "I think it will be difficult to achieve it by April next year in time for the summer season."

Meanwhile, the suggestion of building a car park on Yarmouth's beach to solve the resort's summertime parking shortage has swiftly gathered momentum.

Yarmouth Hippodrome Circus owner Peter Jay unveiled his plans for a temporary car park in time for next Easter on the little-used section of beach behind the Marina Centre in Monday's EDP.

He plans to approach the borough council to rent a section of the beach and run a 500-place car park on a non-profit-making basis, with any surplus being ploughed back into the seafront.

The proposal, which would involve putting down a ramp from the promenade and a temporary metal surface on the sand, has been enthusiastically welcomed by long-serving Labour county councillor John Holmes.

He said: "The provision of parking spaces in that location has been something I have advocated ever since I was a councillor for the old Regent ward."

Mike Butcher, who owns the seafront Longbar, said: "I suggested the same idea 10 years ago when I was a director of the tourist authority, but I really did not get anywhere. I still think it is an excellent idea."

The borough council's cabinet member for tourism Graham Plant had raised concerns that it might be difficult to prevent oil and diesel pollution affecting the beach, but Mr Butcher said he was confident all environmental issues could be successfully addressed.

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