Marine Drive parking fees: Protest grows

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OPPOSITION is growing to the proposed introduction of winter parking charges in the North Bay area of Scarborough.

The plans were revealed last month. Motorists would pay £1 for one hour’s parking in Marine Drive, with anyone wanting to stay for a maximum of six hours charged £2, or £3 for 24 hours.

The council denied that it has introduced the charges as a means of obtaining compensation from Yorkshire Water for the loss of the car parking spaces

Cllr Subash Sharma, who represents residents living in the North Bay area, has launched a petition against the move which he plans to hand in during an ongoing public consultation process into the proposals.

Copies are available at various North Bay businesses including The Watermark Cafe, Oasis and Nisa Stores.

Yesterday Cllr Sharma was unavailable for comment but it is understood that the petition is proving popular with residents and visitors.

At last month’s Cabinet meeting he said the proposed charges were “difficult to comprehend” – especially when a huge proportion of the area will be sectioned off for massive Yorkshire Water improvements next winter.

He added: “It is grubby to acquire more money in the coffers when people’s budgets are reduced.”

John Senior, the chairman of the South Bay Traders Association, said his group also opposed the move because members felt it would deter visitors.

He said: “While my members have some sympathy for the funding dilemma facing Scarborough Council we believe that this is not the solution. Imposing yet more penalties on those wishing to visit our town does untold damage in terms of public perception and good will.

“We also wonder if the real enforcement costs would actually cover the revenue raised?”

He added that, in light of a recent Government report which urged councils to reduce parking charges, he urged the policy to be reviewed.

“It seems to us that Scarborough is operating a flawed parking policy imposed by earlier Government thinking and the enthusiastic implementation of that policy has led to the present and wholly inappropriate Scarborough Parking Strategy,” he said.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, the portfolio holder for highways and transport, said that it was important that people registered their views by next Wednesday.

He also denied that the charges were being proposed in an effort to claim back compensation from Yorkshire Water for a loss in earnings. He added: “The council is not and have not given consideration to claiming compensation for income that we’ve never had.”

Cllr Backhouse said that the proposals been discussed by the Parking Review Working Group for the past four or five years. He added: “If people have a view please put pen to paper.”

As well as the proposed North Bay charges, cuts would be made at car parks including Falconers Road, Friarsway, King Street and North Street.

The Cabinet imposed a deadline of Wednesday for public consultation on the plans which are set to come into force in March.

• People are advised to send their views to Brian Bennett, the council’s head of tourism, at Scarborough Town Hall.