Towns oppose suggestion of more on-street parking charges
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A suggestion that parking charges should be introduced in more Norfolk roads to help cover the costs of parking enforcement has not been welcomed.
A fall in parking fines and pay and display payments, due to coronavirus, left Norfolk's parking enforcement service relying on government grants to help plug a gap and prevent it going into the red.
The hit to Norfolk Parking Partnership's income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, demonstrated the fragility of its funding model, with the money generated using to pay for parking enforcement officers across the county.
Most of the money for the partnership, which currently excludes Norwich, is drawn from income raised in Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn, although other districts make contributions.
At a meeting of the partnership's joint committee on Thursday, Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, suggested other districts ought to contribute more - or introduce more pay and display on-street parking charges themselves.
But the suggestion towns such as Thetford, Sheringham and Cromer could bring in on-street parking charges was not enthusiastically greeted.
Jane James, a town and district councillor for Thetford. who also owns Not Just Books in the town centre, said: "We are really lucky in Thetford that there are very few parking charges, and the majority of parking facilities are owned by Breckland Council.
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"Personally, I love the fact that we have so much free parking and, putting my shopkeeper's hat on, it is really good.
"It is a positive element because we are a market town and pull in shoppers from the surrounding hinterlands."
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Madeleine Ashcroft, mayor of Sheringham, said: "I would imagine that it would not be very helpful to a place like Sheringham to have more pay and display machines in the town centre."
And Tim Adams, a Norfolk County Council and Cromer town councillor said: "Free on-street parking for that quick trip to a local shop or business, or a few items of shopping is essential in our towns.
"Such restrictions will also impact on residential streets due to the impacts of additional cars parking on those streets."