A Bridlington councillor believes that getting rid of Hilderthorpe Road coach park is like ‘selling the family silver’.
Planning permission has been passed to move the coach park to the clifftops on Limekiln Lane and the current site on Hilderthorpe Road has been put on the market on property websites.
But Cllr David Robson told his colleagues on Wednesday that ‘when this car park has gone – it’s gone forever’.
He wants the sale to be put on hold until a thorough review of parking in Bridlington and outlined where he thinks the town is going wrong at a meeting of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
This is a copy of his speech:
“The traffic chaos in Bridlington during the summer period has to be seen to be believed.
“It’s nose-to-tail in all directions to the outskirts of the town. It is standstill traffic and I don’t place the cause on the road closures for TP2 that
undoubtedly does not help.
“The cause is the totally inadequate supply of parking places both on car parks and on street.
“Traffic goes round and round in order for the driver to find a parking space, some give up and leave probably never to return to the detriment of the town’s tourism trade and the council’s own coffers.
“For those having found an on-street parking slot, they then realise, after looking at the signs on the street posts, that they have one or two hours to get the family on to the beach or down to the harbour whilst constantly checking their watches in order to back to their vehicles to avoid a parking penalty.
“Not what anyone would call an enjoyable day out, more like half-a-day at best.
“This will not change after all the road works have been completed. The park and ride electronic signs have been playing up this summer, therefore, most drivers would be unaware this facility existed.
“In any event, human nature and a shortage of funds means many families try their luck on the town’s streets. It is sheer bad publicity for the town.
“Many families, instead of having several trips to the resort to enjoy our fantastic beaches during the summer, do not repeat a bad experience and go elsewhere.
“The tradespeople take a hit as a result. Some councillors will argue that this situation is temporary – it is not. “I run a family business established 218 years, on Scarborough Road, Bridlington, which is the main road into town from the north.
“The traffic during the summer months is at a standstill outside my premises, one mile out of the town centre and this situation has existed for years, well before any disruption caused by the redevelopment of the town centre.
“I find it impossible to turn into town from my premises and have to turn left and use the outskirts of the town in order to get about my business.
“I can walk into town quicker than driving and, therefore, don’t bother to use my vehicle.
“We can always argue that there is no problem, but those councillors who do so, need to talk to the businesses in Bridlington where they will get an ear full! This council has not listened to the people of Bridlington, we know what the true problem is and it is not going to be resolved by selling off yet another car park.
“It is not just day-trippers who are frustrrated, the guest house owners are constantly berated for the total lack of parking provision outside the boarding houses.
“I have spoken to the traffic wardens who tell me they have been instructed not to allow any concessions, an inch or two over the white line and bang, a ticket with a fine.
“Welcome to Bridlington, don’t come back.
“The visitor to the town is advised to use the park and ride but the visitor entering the town from the north will be totally unaware of this facility and is unlikely to travel another two miles in very slow moving traffic to use it, if they know of it.
“The former East Yorkshire Borough Council created the Hilderthorpe Road Coach Park car park 45 or so years ago.
“It was, and still is an ideal site, close to the town centre, harbour and beaches, easy to access off Kingsgate, Hilderthorpe Road – no narrow streets to negotiate.
“Traffic volume has trebled since that time, the need for the continued use of this asset is consequently greater than before.
“If we didn’t have it and had to look around to purchase property to demolish to create a park, it would not cost a fortune.
“I know this because East Yorkshire Borough Council did just that when it bought every property on the now disappeared Prince Street and most of Rope Walk, at an enormous cost only to sell it off to a developer who was not interested in any provision for car parking when the Promenade Centre was constructed.
“We are now to repeat the mistake.
“I am aware that the council has had it in mind for many years to sell the coach/car park for, hopefully, a retail development.
“I also recognise that the council is desperate for a cash receipt but don’t sell off our family silver.
“The situation has changed dramatically over the last 10 years in the retail sector. Tesco told us they wouldn’t move as we had hoped they would do, which would free their existing site for development.
“Food retailing is increasingly moving on-line.
“Bridlington is also a low wage economy and will not attract quality retailers. Marks and Spencer in the town is on the danger list for closure.
“I am at a loss in thinking which retailer, that we don’t already have, will open up an outlet in Bridlington, this will depress the value of the car park sale for that purpose.
“The value of the sale will now be infinitesimal in comparison to the annual financial loss to the business in the town.
“What is the point of spending millions of pounds on regeneration if there is nowhere to park to make a success of it? The Council has sold off the Beaconsfield car park and therefore the overspill at the successful East Riding Leisure, which was the destination car owners were advised to use, have now to use on-street parking.
“The planning officers, under delegation, passed an application for a 60-bedroom hotel on the Esplanade in Bridlington, without a single on-site parking place, citing that there was adequate on street places available.
“Unbelievable! We need a re-think; times have changed and we have to change with it.
“Since September 2016, the town has lost 45% of its paid-for car parking spaces and 5% of its free on-street parking places.
“144 spaces lost with the sale of Beaconsfield, 16 lost when the bridge over Beck Hill began to be constructed and a few elsewhere; a total of 177.
“There have been 7,363 fewer tickets sold at our car parks, indicating people are going elsewhere to shop and visit.
“We also need to consider air pollution in the narrow streets of Bridlington when we have hours of almost standstill traffic.
“There is now a further added development, which will have a severe impact on the lack of parking provision within the town.
“The extension to the Wilsthorpe Leisure Park will produce 158,280 extra visits to the town annually, according to the publicity release. I recognise that many of these visits will use the park and ride, but it is obvious that visitors will use their cars to pop into town for provisions, for example, and also when the tourist is planning a day out using a vehicle.
“There is also a housing development of 500 houses on Kingsgate and residents will obviously not use the park and ride.
“We are to create a transport hub around the train station, but now without a coach park.
“The site sale notice includes the much-used toilet block, which then would be demolished and lost.
“It is a dire situation for the town’s businesses to look forward to. customers are already complaining about the total chaos when trying to find a car parking space and vowing never to return.
“Many residents also go out of town to do their shopping.
“The council needs to put its business hat on and look at the medium and long term outlook.
“When this car park has gone – it’s gone forever.
“It is a real problem.
“It is absolutely not caused by the roadworks, I was born in Bridlington and make my livelihood in Bridlington.
“I talk to business people all the time, I like to think I know what I am talking about.
“I know that the council is never going to admit it needs a re-think.”