DCSIMG

Parish council evicted from Snettisham’s profitable beach car park

SNETTISHAM LITTER PICK
                                         
Volunteers, parish councillors and borough council employees with some of the litter collected from a four mile stretch of the beach

SNETTISHAM LITTER PICK Volunteers, parish councillors and borough council employees with some of the litter collected from a four mile stretch of the beach

Villagers could be facing a rise in council tax as a parish council is due to be evicted from a profitable car park.

Snettisham Parish Council has been running the popular beach car park for many years but site owners Ken Hill Estates are planning to take it back on Monday, February 17.

The council is disappointed with the decision and could end up losing money as it has already paid some of the £37,000 costs needed every year to run the car park and will be missing out on the forthcoming profitable season.

But the estate says there could be room for manoeuvre over the date the lease ends and will continue to run the car park on a similar basis.

The parish council has leased the car park, which has made a record amount of profit over the last few years, from the estate on a October to November basis for a number of years.

Chairman Eric Langford says this has been a useful source of income especially at a time when the council is facing a £50,000 unpaid VAT bill .

The council will be setting its precept at a meeting next week.

He said: “We will have to consider how we are going to face a potential £50,000 debt to the VAT so we could add £10,000 on the budget or halve it. At the end of the day this is going to have an impact on the precept.”

The council said it had paid a peppercorn rent of £125 but this went to £3,000 in 2006 with profits split 70:30 between the two.

The council said it was told the rent for the current season would rise to £12,000.

Mr Langford said: “After years of cooperation, the estate appears to have adopted an insular approach to the village, and have decided to move the beach car park onto a wholly commercial orientated basis, taking all of the car park profit for itself. Equally sad from my point of view, is that the estate has chosen to conduct this whole process through their land agents and solicitors and have not seen fit to engage in any sort of discussions on this matter with the parish council, something that used to happen in the past.”

Estate manager John Austen said the car park will remain open. He said: “We need to have the car park in our business to keep it going. We used to talk to each other but we haven’t heard from them for months and months. If they talk to us the end of lease end date does not necessarily have to be February 17.

“We will operate the car park on a similar basis as before but we have not discussed the structure.”

 

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