Yarmouth newsagent attacks spread of residents parking zones

Ralph Childs who is angry about plans to introduce paid permit parking for all areas east of the riv

Ralph Childs who is angry about plans to introduce paid permit parking for all areas east of the river in Great Yarmouth.Pictured with Owen church and Debbie Turner.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Moves to spread parking charges across Great Yarmouth while more than 100 roadside spaces already lay empty are 'heartbreaking', a leading businessman has said.

Plans to introduce paid permit parking for all areas east of the river in Great Yarmouth.View of emp

Plans to introduce paid permit parking for all areas east of the river in Great Yarmouth.View of empty parking spaces on the streets behind the seafront.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Ralph Childs, who has run JW Childs and Sons newsagents in Nelson Road Central for 49 years, said the borough council needs to 'wake up' to the fact permit parking is deterring tourists.

And while he welcomed moves to allow tourists to buy day tickets to park in the permit zone, he said it would be better if the scheme were dropped altogether.

The seafront Zone A parking scheme is already in place, with permits costing £40 per year.

But a bid to create a Zone B stretching back to the river is afoot, with talk of a Zone C to cover the Barrack Estate in the future.

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And Mr Childs said the idea should be opposed.

'At any one time there are 100 to 150 empty spaces all day long,' he said. 'You speak to people who come here and are upset.

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'They want to come here and spend money and park near where they want to go.

'If this was working and spaces were all full they would go to the car parks quite happily, but when there's parking space after parking space they think why can't we park here.

'They say they're for the residents, but they're all at work and they come back at night.'

He estimated business must be losing tens of thousands of pounds to people put off from visiting.

'It's a gorgeous morning - where the hell is everybody?' he said. 'When you think how hard we work it's heartbreaking.

'They council is not sending out a message that tourists are welcome, and they need to wake up.

'We've spent years arguing these things and they've got to see sense.

'We can't go on like this.

'These are just wasted spaces that could be used trying to attract people in.'

And he criticised the policy of free parking after 4pm as a compromise.

'Who wants to go shopping after 4pm?' he said. 'They're off to get the kiddies to bed.

'You're back to posture and politics.'

Owen Church, who owns Hemsby Post Office, added the situation could harm the wider area.

'The businesses within Yarmouth are expanding and trying to bring Hemsby and Hopton into Greater Yarmouth to get people to the area as a whole,' he said. 'And if they find any detrimental things they perhaps don't come.

'If local people aren't coming in then businesses round villages near Yarmouth could get a benefit, but in a largely tourist area you want to give tourists value for money.'

Consultation on the Norfolk County Council-led proposal has now concluded, and bosses hope it will be introduced in spring 2014.

Trevor Wainwright, leader of the borough council, said the scheme helps residents park near their homes and is a vital source of income to help support frontl;ine services.

And Mick Castle, who chairs the borough's car parking strategy steering group, said: 'From next spring we should have additional visitor parking in roads like Rodney Road where there are additional spaces, and we will have tickets in corner shops.

'We would love to have done it this summer, but we had to wait for the Zone A plans and for legal notices which take time.'

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