Plan for on-street parking charges in Hunstanton dropped

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Proposals to introduce on-street parking charges to parts of Hunstanton have been shelved following new talks this week.

The scheme would have seen drivers forced to pay to park on a number of roads across the resort during the new financial year.

But the plan was thrown into doubt earlier this month when North Norfolk District Council threatened legal action if similar measures were imposed in Cromer and Sheringham.

And, following a meeting of the county’s parking partnership joint committee on Wednesday, the idea has been dropped, with savings now set to be sought in staffing and infrastructure.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman told the Lynn News she did not expect the idea to come forward “in the foreseeable future”.

The proposal put forward by the Norfolk Parking Partnership had intended to introduce parking charges on several Hunstanton roads, including Cliff Parade, Lincoln Square, Boston Square, St Edmunds Terrace, Le Strange Terrace and High Street.

After a free 45-minute period, drivers would have been charged 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.

The idea was put forward in an attempt to plug a £280,000 shortfall in the cost of providing parking enforcement work across Norfolk as a whole.

Officials have warned that a failure to make savings could put the county at risk of not fulfilling its legal obligations to enforce traffic rules.

The partnership committee agreed to seek up to £100,000 worth of savings during the 2016-17 financial year, including staff and efficiency savings, financial contributions from partner authorities and cuts in the amount spent on signs and markings.

The county spokesman added: “Councillors and officers of the Norfolk Parking Partnership councils will be meeting to seek new sources of income and ways of working, and discussing how savings can be made.”

West Norfolk is now one of only three areas of the county where on-street parking charges are imposed, following the introduction of a scheme on Lynn’s South Quay in January, along with the city of Norwich and the borough of Yarmouth.

But concerns have been growing for some time over the perceived lack of fairness of surplus income raised in areas where charges are imposed being used to fund enforcement work in areas without the charges.

A working group is now set to be established in a bid to address the issue and bring forward new budget proposals by the autumn.

But Hunstanton borough and county councillor Richard Bird suggested a complete review of the service would now be needed.

He said the town had been put in a difficult position as both the county council and West Norfolk Council had supported the charges, even though they were opposed locally.

He said: “They’re going to have to look at their whole regime.”