Officials defend Hunstanton car park charges

West Norfolk Council's offices
West Norfolk Council's offices
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Parking charges in Hunstanton are intended to reflect the mixture of traffic between residential and visiting drivers, town councillors have been told.

The explanation from West Norfolk Council officials follows recent claims that the town was getting a raw deal following the borough authority’s decision to raise parking charges.

But critics have dismissed the claim, insisting one of the most expensive sites is also a popular area with residents.

Questions were first raised about the level of charges in Hunstanton in April, shortly after the increased charges came into force following the adoption of the borough council’s budget for the current year.

In some Hunstanton car parks, the rate for three hours of parking is a pound more than in Lynn during July and August, while some all day rates are as much as £6, around double the Lynn rate.

And that led some councillors to suggest the town was not getting a fair deal.

But, delivering his report to last Friday’s town council meeting, borough councillor Paul Beal said officers had told him that the regime reflected the different uses of the facilities.

He said: “The Central car park (next to the Princess Theatre) is the same price as King’s Lynn and Valentine Road is cheaper.

“The rest, as we know, is for tourism and that is where the borough gets its money.”

He also pointed out that latest figures showed the town had welcomed around 4,000 more visitors during May than had been recorded in the same month last year.

However, Wendy Croucher pointed out the car park near the Oasis leisure centre is regularly used by people exercising their dogs, particularly the elderly.

She said: “To say the car parks are all used by tourists is not the truth.”

Meanwhile, in response to a question from Mick Large, who first raised the issue of parking, Mr Beal admitted there was little prospect of getting the additional £1 charge imposed on drivers during July and August scrapped this year.

But he suggested that there may be a chance of having it reviewed, if a united front can be formed against it.

He said: “We have got a new leader. He may be more sympathetic.

“Perhaps with the Chamber of Trade, we can take it forward again.”