Park-and-ride scheme plan for busy seaside towns

North Norfolk District Council's headquarters in Holt Road, Cromer could be used as a park-and-ride site.

North Norfolk District Council's headquarters in Holt Road, Cromer could be used as a park-and-ride site. Inset, council leader Sarah Bütikofer - Credit: Stuart Anderson/NNDC

Park-and-ride schemes could be introduced to help busy seaside towns cope with an expected influx of summer tourists.

Cromer, Sheringham and Wells have all been flagged as places where North Norfolk District Council could introduce the schemes.

The busy Cromer beach on the hottest day of the summer so far. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A busy Cromer beach in summer 2020 This year is expected to be just as busy - or if not even busier - than last year along the north Norfolk coast. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

Sarah Bütikofer, council leader, said: "There are places across the district like Wells and Sheringham that get very congested. "We've been looking for temporary car park sites from private land owners for possible park-and-ride schemes.

"It's the seaside towns that we're trying to protect and assist - if it's easier for people to get into them then they will be more inclined to visit." 

Mrs Bütikofer said they were also considering using the council's own office car park in Holt Road, Cromer, as a park-and-ride, because many council staff would carry on working from home.

A part-and-ride sign outside Norwich.

A part-and-ride sign outside Norwich. Similar schemes could soon be introduced over the tourist season in north Norfolk's popular seaside towns to help cope with an expected influx of visitors. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Richard Leeds, Cromer mayor, said a park-and-ride was something the town council and chamber of trade and business had discussed before.

He said: "My first impression is that it's a great idea. They could be dropped off at Melbourne slope or somewhere like that."

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Mr Leeds said Cromer could even benefit from having two park-and-rides to service the two main gateways into the town, and that the scheme would help residents who sometimes struggled to find on-street parking over summer. 

Richard Leeds, Cromer mayor, said a summer park-and-ride scheme was a good idea. 

Richard Leeds, Cromer mayor, said a summer park-and-ride scheme was a good idea. - Credit: Hubba Roberts

Mrs Bütikofer said the council had set up a team to look at issues around an expected increase in summer tourists brought on by the coronavirus restrictions on traveling abroad. 

She said there were "absolutely lessons learned" from last summer, and the council was planning to put in extra litter bins and empty them more regularly. 

Mrs Bütikofer said: "Because people are not able to sit in cafes as much as they would like you get a lot more takeaway litter. People feel safer outside but it's important to have the litter facilities there.

"We want to make sure we can deliver the best possible summer for everyone."

The council is also encouraging temporary camping sites - if they have the right facilities - to reduce an expected rise in 'wild camping'.

Park and ride plan: 'A bonus'

Sheringham Chamber of Trade chairman John Roseby, who runs women’s clothing store Rags and Bags with his wife Moya, said park-and-ride could be a good thing for the town. 

Mr Roseby said: “It would be a bonus. The car parks were rammed last year when lockdown was lifted. 
“A lot of people were reluctant to use public transport last year and it could well be the same when lockdowns are lifted this year. There could also be more demand for parking because people aren’t traveling abroad. It’s something we’d be keen to have a conversation about.

“Even if it’s just for the seven or eight weeks of summer school holidays, it could become a permanent fixture.”

Roger Arguile, Wells town councillor and chairman of the town’s neighbourhood plan working party, said he would like to hear more about the idea first. 

Mr Arguile said one factor which could complicate things for Wells was that much of the land around the town was owned by the Holkham Estate.

He said: “I would be hesitant to proceed with undue haste when we are in the middle of a neighbourhood plan working party. I, and I’m sure the town council, would be very happy to talk to the district council about land.”
 

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