On-street parking meters a ‘nightmare’ for Sheringham
Sheringham mayor David Gooch this week claimed the introduction of on-street parking meters in north Norfolk would be 'an absolute nightmare'.
He warned local residents, traders and visitors would all suffer unless the brakes are slammed on Norfolk County Council's controversial proposals.
The local councillor spoke out at this month's meeting of the Town Council.
He pointed out North Norfolk District Council has already voted to drive up the cost of parking in pay and display car parks along the coast.
Addressing members in the Town Hall on Tuesday night, Mr Gooch said: 'This is going to be a major problem. Traders are already extremely concerned about the affect this is going to have on their livelihood.
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'It's an absolute nightmare - it's going to be horrendous for locals, horrendous for traders and horrendous for visitors. And it's going to have a detrimental impact on the town.'
Norfolk County Council, which manages enforcement of on-street parking, has been keen to extend pay and display zones because it is struggling to raise enough money to pay for that enforcement.
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However, Sheringham Town Council has not ruled out taking on the running of the scheme following the success of other local projects.
Referring to his meeting with officers from County Hall, Mr Gooch said: 'We made it abundantly clear that we were totally dissatisfied. We asked lots of questions and couldn't believe how unprepared the (officers) were.'
In Sheringham, it is proposed to introduced on-street pay parking meters on The Esplanade, High Street, Church Street and Station Road.
And, in Cromer, the streets affected are: Runton Road, The Croft, Louden Road, Mount Street, Bond Street, Canada Road, Hamilton Road, Garden Street, Church Street, and Tucker Street.
While parking will be free for the first 45 minutes, motorists will still need to display a ticket. Charges then vary up to £4 for three to four hours, with parking in some streets limited to two hours.
Mr Gooch said: 'It will be bad for us but it will be worse for Cromer - the list of streets there is phenomenal. That's going to hit the beach; no-one's going to come and spend the day on the beach.'
A public meeting is being organised to allow the public to air their views in the Parish Hall in Church Street, Cromer, on Wednesday, March 9, at 7pm.
Before then, local business leaders, representatives from the town council and councillors are due to hold private talks with parking chiefs to discuss a way forward.
Sheringham Councillor Brian Hannah, who is chairing the meeting later today (Thursday), said: 'We don't want parking meters because we believe it will be detrimental to both towns.' But he added: 'I have called a committee meeting because we need to go through a process and talk about it.
'I was quite disgusted (when I first heard the proposals) because I don't want parking meters in the town centre. I've given them a clear message but what they are saying is the only way to do this is talk to one another.'
To show our support, the North Norfolk News has launched an SOS (Save Our Seaside) - a new campaign to leave the powers that be in no doubt that both Cromer and Sheringham are against plans for on-street parking meters.
It comes amid fears that the double whammy of on-street parking meters, together with an increase in off-street parking charges, could see the area's reputation as a premier visitor destination suffer.
We have printed a poster on the page opposite for every reader to display in their homes and businesses to show their support. And we have printed a form below to fill in and send to Norfolk County Council.