Plenty of spaces - nowhere to park

There might be plenty of free spaces at Yarmouth but nowhere to park, according to angry seafront traders. They are tired of seeing empty parking spaces - the result of new resident-only restrictions - and claim their takings have suffered because customers have nowhere for their cars.

There might be plenty of free spaces at Yarmouth but nowhere to park, according to angry seafront traders.

They are tired of seeing empty parking spaces - the result of new resident-only restrictions - and claim their takings have suffered because customers have nowhere for their cars.

The system of permits was introduced to the town in February after complaints from residents that they could rarely find a free space.

Council member for tourism Graham Plant said the car park steering group was meeting tomorrow to look at solutions to the problem.

He said while guesthouses could be given special permits granting guests temporary resident status, nothing could be done to change the restrictions until next year.

Traders had been widely consulted before the permit scheme was introduced, he said, and another three-stage consultation process would have to be gone through to make any amendments.

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He added that there were plenty of car parks in the resort which, according to figures, were only full for 20 days of the year.

But Angela Cutajar, manager of the Ocean Spray restaurant on the sea-front, said: “I have had people say they drove right through the town because they could not find anywhere to park.

“It is a shame after all the beautiful improvements along the seafront, but trade is down by a lot. The council need to re-evaluate the effect the permits are having on everybody's business. Something really needs to be done about it.”

And Anastasia Ioannou, of the Metropole restaurant, said: “All my customers are complaining. It is alright having parking for residents but we are about the holidaymakers. Trade is down quite a lot since the permits came in.”

Mr Plant said: “The residents are quite happy with the scheme but we will look again to see if there are other ways. This was always going to be a problem. We realise we are not just a residents town, we are a holiday town, too.”

He said ideas being proposed included replacing guesthouse owner's parking permits with 365 permits to be handed out to customers at their discretion, and putting up large signs directing people to car parks at St Nicholas Road, the beach coach station, Nelson Road, and on the old tennis courts on the seafront.

People can attend the car park steering group meeting at 5.30pm tomorrow in the council chamber at Yarmouth town hall.

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