THE lack of car parking spaces and the threat of fines is keeping people away from Bridlington town centre.
That is the view of residents, businesses and Bridlington Mayor Coun Cyril Marsburg, as we reveal how much money the council have make from parking in the town.
The 597 space Moorfield Car Park makes on average £6,600 per month, or roughly £11 a space on a monthly basis, which is approximately 36p a day - leading to calls for the car park to be made free once more.
And in the first three months since the council took over on street, non pay and display parking enforcement from Humberside Police, they have received a total of £17,460 from fines in Bridlington - £2840 in November, £5025 in December and £9595 in January.
Mayor Coun Cyril Marsburg believes that the current parking situation is “killing the town” as parking restrictions and charges are forcing residents and tourists away, and has suggested that Moorfield car park could be made free to relieve pressure on shoppers.
“The fear of getting a parking ticket definitely affects trade, and I still think that the fines are used to claw back some revenue because the authority has reduced their council tax rates.
“However, the amount they are making is not a great deal and we are losing businesses left and right and something needs to be done to keep businesses open. The town is dying, and it wasn’t helped when the Lords Feoffees proposal for a multi-storey car park on Beck Hill was turned down.
“I would say that making Moorfield Car Park free would be a terrific help. It would make it easier for those who work in the town, and would be a good way of attracting people to come and spend money in town centre businesses. That has been Bridlington Town Council’s position in the past.”
Kerith McGougan, of Petals florist on King Street, believes that people are choosing supermarkets and out of town shopping instead of local businesses because they cannot get a space in Bridlington.
“King Street used to be open to traffic and we had 80 cars an hour here. Now people are scared stiff of getting a ticket, so they don’t come into the town to shop”, said Kerith, who has had the business for 12 years.
“I can’t even bring a vehicle round to load stock to deliver, without getting caught. I pay £600 for two spaces so I don’t run the risk of getting a ticket, but still there are definitely less people coming into the town centre and our rent and rates don’t go down.
“Moorfield used to be free, but people don’t want to pay if they are visiting the town centre for one or two shops.”
Justine Hartley, of Hartley’s clothes store on Chapel Street, agrees, saying she has seen a definite reduction in the number of people driving into town to visit one particular shop.
James White, manager of the Promenades Shopping Centre, believes that the town has suffered in the past from people abusing parking rules.
“As long as the officers are being fair, then there shouldn’t be a problem. However, we do definitely need more capacity in the town, especially in the summer months, to help keep businesses in the town centre going.”
John Skidmore, Head of Streetscene Services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council said that the council take a “fair and balanced” view on parking enforcement.
“The level of money received shows that the introduction of Civil Enforcement Officers is not a venture we have made for financial gain, but is a fair and balanced way to stop people parking illegally in Bridlington.”
In total, the proposed costs to the council of setting up the Civil Parking Enforcement system was set to be £488,500, according to a cabinet report from May 2010.
Mr Skidmore continued: “We intend to break even within five years, and this shows our commitment to introducing safe and sensible parking in the town.
“We have had hundreds of requests from residents requesting help with parking issues in their area. I have been surprised by the number.
“We do not want congestion. We keep traffic moving, especially when we have an influx of visitors to Bridlington during the season. The Park and Ride has also been very successful in helping with that.”
Mr Skidmore also responded to calls for Moorfield car park to be made free, by confirming that the council recently conducted an “extensive and comprehensive” review into parking over the past two years, saying he is confident that charges in Bridlington are “supportive”.
53 people attended a consultation on parking in Bridlington in April 2009 as part of the review.
The debate has raged on our Facebook site, with residents and those who visit the town agreed that better and cheaper parking would be good for Bridlington.
One user, Samantha Holdsworth, said she used to visit Bridlington 10 times a year before Moorfield car park began to charge, and has now not visited for 18 months.
Donna Simpson believes the parking issue is “serious for locals and tourists”, while Simon Gregson said he thinks Palace car park should be made free because of its convenience to the town centre.
• What do you think of parking in the town? Should Moorfield be free? Are less people visiting the town centre because they are afraid of a parking fine? Leave a comment on our Facebook site, tweet us @BridFreePress or send us a letter to email@example.com or 3 Prospect Street, YO15 2AQ.