Legal threat in Hunstanton parking charge row

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Town sign. ENGANL00120121025131928
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District council officials have warned they could take legal action if proposals to introduce on-street parking charges to coastal areas including Hunstanton are implemented.

Draft plans to introduce charges to several streets in Hunstanton, Sheringham and Cromer were published by the Norfolk Parking Partnership last month.

But North Norfolk District Council has now drawn up a statement opposing the plans, following a meeting between council leaders and local representatives in the affected areas.

Judy Oliver, the authority’s cabinet member for legal services, said: “We are keen to establish a way forward that is reasonable, fair and effective and we will consider all options to achieve that result.

“If the present proposal is pushed through we will look to challenge it in court.”

Drivers now have to pay to park on Lynn’s South Quay if they stay for more than an hour under a regime which came into force in January (Springwood estate is permit only).

Under the current proposals, charges are proposed for parking on Cliff Parade, Lincoln Square, Boston Square, St Edmunds Terrace, Le Strange Terrace and High Street.

After a free period of 45 minutes, drivers would then have to pay up to £4 for a maximum of four hours in each area, except for High Street, where a maximum 90 minute stay would be allowed.

Officials say additional charges are necessary to help meet a £280,000 shortfall in the cost of the enforcement programme.

And the issue is due to be discussed again at a meeting of the Norfolk Parking Partnership on March 23.

But, during last month’s West Norfolk Council meeting, Hunstanton councillor Richard Bird warned against “saddling” the area with new fees.

Nigel Pearce, whose ward covers part of Cromer, said: “It feels like the on-street parking proposals would be robbing the coast, taking money out of the area. They would not bring any benefit to our seaside towns.”