Council leader opposes new parking charges

Tom Fitzpatrick, the Conservative leader at North Norfolk District Council.

Tom Fitzpatrick, the Conservative leader at North Norfolk District Council. - Credit: Archant

Fears have been voiced that north Norfolk could lose its appeal as a visitor destination if new on-street parking charges are introduced – just months after residents voted overwhelmingly to reject them.

Traders in Cromer and Sheringham have warned they face a double-whammy as North Norfolk District Council has already proposed increasing the charges at pay and display car parks in the coastal towns.

And they fear another tax on motorists could drive visitors and businesses out of the area.

Cromer mayor Tim Adams, who revealed he had not been consulted over the plans, said: 'I'm furious and we will be considering all options to fight this in the coming days.

'We have a standing motion against parking meters at the town council and this is a real kick in the shins for all the traders, commuters and residents in Cromer, Sheringham and Hunstanton.

'We previously had a proposal for parking meters for Cromer and Sheringham which was put on hold in October whilst they re-evaluated the way it was working, but there is no evidence they have actually done that so I'm really quite angry.'

Norfolk County Council has proposed installing on-street pay parking meters in Runton Road, The Croft, Louden Road, Mount Street, Bond Street, Canada Road, Hamilton Road, Garden Street, Church Street, and Tucker Street.

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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 Adams said: 'I think this will push more parking onto residential streets and, overall, it will make the experience of Cromer as a visitor destination worse, more expensive and people are less likely to come.'

In Sheringham, it is proposed to introduce on-street pay parking meters on The Esplanade, High Street, Church Street and Station Road. However, traders have reiterated their opposition to the plans.

With a maximum of four hours of parking on The Esplanade, they warned it could mean the end for a 'day out' at the seaside.

Jeremy Stubbs, chairman of Sheringham Chamber of Trade, said: 'It is very worrying.'

Controversial proposals to introduce more pay and display zones in Norfolk's seaside towns are back on the table – because council leaders need extra cash to pay for parking enforcement.

The Norfolk Parking Partnership Joint Committee is set to discuss the proposals at its meeting at County Hall in Norwich today (Thursday).

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'We didn't support it 18 months ago and I don't see anything having changed - I can't speak for everyone at the council but I wouldn't imagine we would support it now.'