Concerns after council bid to introduce permits and pay and display machines for on-street parking in Cromer and Sheringham
- Credit: Archant
A bid to introduce street parking permits and charges in two north Norfolk towns has sparked fears among leaders and business.
Norfolk County Council announced the proposal to turn over streets in Sheringham and Cromer to residents parking, and introduce pay and display on some town-centre roads.
The council said the move was aimed to improve parking across both towns - and could be a blueprint for others.
But North Norfolk District Council leaders have hit out at the plans, claiming it would damage the tourist industry and make life more difficult for people who work in the town.
North Norfolk district councillor Richard Smith called the proposal a 'visitor tax', and added: 'It looks almost like a money-generating scheme. It appears like it is addressing the parking concerns but it seems to be introducing pay and display by stealth.'
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A draft proposal, seen by the News, shows most roads in the north side of Sheringham ear-marked for permit parking, including all the residential streets around the town's war memorial.
Pay and display parking would be introduced on The Esplanade and along High Street, with the first 45 minutes free.
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A similar scheme would be rolled out in Cromer, but it is unknown which roads would be included.
Tracey Khalil, president of Cromer Chamber of Trade, said she understood why some residents would want permit parking, but said it was important to look at the bigger picture.
'Those cars have to go somewhere,' she added. 'If you move them of the residential streets close to the town centre the chances are they will be empty during the day and people will park further out.'
District council deputy leader Rhodri Oliver said permits would cost about £40 per year.
Workers in the town would be likely to buy season tickets for the district council-owned car park, which cost about £200.
'I think it will damage the tourist industry,' he said. 'If you have more people buying season tickets, it will push tourists out of town.'
But Sheringham mayor Tricia Brooks said it would encourage people to look at other transport options.
She said: 'I don't think it will deter people coming into the town, visitors will just park further out.
'We have a good bus service so it will make people think how they are going to get to work.'
A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said a questionnaire would be delivered to residents and business in mid-December with a four-week period to respond.
He said: 'We are in the early stages of putting forward plans for permit parking in Sheringham and Cromer and have had initial meetings with both town councils and other stakeholders to discuss how to implement these.
'We will be asking residents about any problems they currently face with parking, which will help us to get an idea where the hotspots are, and where we may be able to give residents and businesses some help in order to improve parking across both towns.'
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