One of the most vocal critics of Bridlington’s £950,000 coach park has said it is not too late to keep the previous site, rather than selling it off and building on it.
Cllr David Robson has obtained figures from the council showing how much the Hilderthorpe Road facility has been used in recent years.
He said: “I was surprised to find the actual usage figures of the Hilderthorpe Road coach park, considering that we have been told it’s under used and surplus to requirements and is to be sold off.
“It will be interesting to receive the usage figures for coaches to the Limekiln Lane park, at the end of the year.
“The volume of cars parked on the coach park over the May Bank Holiday period, proves that the current site is vital to the tourists’ visit, there is nowhere else to park.”
The statistics given to Cllr Robson show in each of the years, the site generated between £40,000 and £50,000 in revenue.
In April and May last year, 247 coaches and almost 3,500 cars used the Hilderthorpe Road site. Between the new park opening at the end of April and June 8 this year, 238 coaches used it.
Over the Bank Holiday at the start of May, 843 cars used the Hilderthorpe Road over three days, generating £2,350.
Last Wednesday, Cllr Robson quizzed council leader Cllr Stephen Parnaby OBE about why coach drivers were being given ‘incentives’ such as meal vouchers if they used the new coach park, and if companies had been asked for their views on the move, following hundreds of objections from local residents.
“The leader point blank refused to answer my question, on whether the coach operators had been consulted over the site change,” Cllr Robson told the Free Press. “I take it from that, that the answer was no, otherwise he would just have confirmed he had.
“Car parking and the lack of it, is a headache problem for most authorities, we must be the only one selling them off. This is despite the independent survey, paid for by the council, that identified a shortage of 330 spaces within 400 metres of the town centre.
“Remarkably, roughly the number that could be accommodated, on the forced redundancy of the Hilderthorpe Road Coach Park.
“We are not a shopping destination, but we are a tourist destination, which desperately needs adequate car parking provision. This area is low wage economy and as such cannot attract the top named companies onto a retail park.
“We all recognise, that retail shopping has dramatically changed in recent times and for every job created and customer attracted to a new retail park, takes a job and a customer from other existing outlets, in the struggling local economy.
“People only spend a certain amount each week on provisions and if that is spent on an outlet on a new retail park, it is not spent elsewhere.
“Therefore, the decision to create a retail complex on Hilderthorpe Road, should be revisited now, in the light of current circumstances and not the outdated situation of 15 years ago.
“However, the likelihood of that happening, is akin to snow settling in the Sahara Desert. Leave it as a car park.
“I served for 10 years on the former East Yorkshire Borough Council, when they largely controlled the destiny of this town and did it incredibly well. They knew the ideal location for a coach and car park and they cleared the Hilderthorpe Road site and created one two or three minutes from the town centre, harbour and sea front.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council has said relocating coach parking to Limekiln Lane was an integral part of the Bridlington Area Action Plan as it releases the former Hilderthorpe Road Coach Park site for commercial redevelopment, which ‘will help grow the local economy and create new employment opportunities for local people’.