Public consultations are being launched today on plans which, if implemented, will all but end free and unrestricted parking in two key areas of Lynn.
Letters have been sent to residents and traders on the South Quay and the Springwood housing estate, asking for their views on proposals drawn up by borough and county council officials.
If approved, the schemes could see permit systems introduced, in which residents would pay £40 per year to park in either of the two areas. A visitors’ permit, which would cost £25 per year, is also being proposed for the South Quay.
But Phill Reilly, project engineer for Norfolk County Council, admitted introducing permits would need public support and the nature of the measures enforced would be influenced by the public’s reaction to the idea.
During a briefing in Lynn on Wednesday, he said: “If that’s not there, we can’t force it on them.
“It will shape the way the scheme is implemented, but I don’t think it will be a gamechanger that we wouldn’t do anything at all.”
Under the proposals, drivers who want to park along the South Quay would have to pay to do so if they stay for longer than 30 minutes.
In the letter to residents, Mr Reilly said: “The scheme is aimed at regulating parking in the area, improving the turnover of parking spaces and reducing the volume of traffic looking for a ‘free’ parking space.
“This can help reduce congestion and bring benefits to both residents and businesses.”
The plan also includes provision of a designated loading bay on King’s Staithe Square, which will take up two existing parking spaces, and an extension of the existing restricted parking zone to include Queen Street and Saturday Market Place, as well as parts of St James Street, St Margaret’s Place and Church Street.
Meanwhile, three options are being proposed to tackle the problems faced by residents of the Springwood estate, which is regularly used for parking by people visiting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
As well as a permitting system, residents are being asked to consider a restricted parking zone, which would ban vehicle waiting and loading in the area during specific times.
The other option is to put double yellow lines along the roads and at junctions where parking is considered to be a particular problem.
If supported by the public, the schemes could be implemented as early as this autumn, though officials stress that no detailed proposals would be introduced without a further consultation exercise being carried out.
And the authorities have also confirmed they are looking at other areas, including around the College of West Anglia, to see if further measures should be put in place.
Mr Reilly said: “We’re not looking at this in isolation. This is a whole town issue.”
Tim Edmunds, the county council’s highways network manager, said: “We thought it was right to go ahead with the areas that have attracted the most comments to the authorities.”
And West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney added: “I probably get more phone calls and letters about parking than any other subject.”
People in the affected areas were notified of the proposals this week and the consultation will run until April 4.
Residents who live outside the affected areas can also comment on the plans by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Norfolk County Council Highway Projects, Carrow House, 301 King Street, Norwich NR1 2TN. People taking part should state where they live.
n What do you think of the proposals? Email your views to at email@example.com