Hunstanton’s car parks contribute over £1m to the Borough Council’s coffers

As Hunstanton begins its annual preparations for the influx of visitors to the resort, we investigate the thorny issue of car parking.

Of the 6131 off-road car parking spaces operated by the Borough Council within the Borough, 3,249 are in Hunstanton, 2590 in King’s Lynn, 186 in Burnham Market and 106 in Heacham.

Town and Around’s freedom of information (FOI) request to the Borough Council revealed that the total income derived from the car parking spaces it operates in Hunstanton is £1,168,669.10. Southend car park is the most lucrative with an income of £301,874, second is the South Promenade at £245,873, closely followed by the Cliff Top car park at £225,457.

My Ref:_

Members of the Borough Council’s cabinet voted to approve the budget recommendations for the coming year, 2020/21, at their meeting on 4th February. The budget included the introduction of a three hour fee where previously the third hour was free of charge. This increases the charge for that period from £4 to £5 in the pay and display car parks in Hunstanton excluding the Central and Valentine Road car parks where the charge will rise from £2.80 to £3.50. The North Promenade charges remain the same as the 2019/20 tariff. This pricing structure is exclusively the remit of the Borough Council who are also the sole recipient of the income. Hunstanton Town Council has no say and receives no financial benefits.

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A familiar cry from residents in Hunstanton during the tourist season is that the side roads fill up with visitors who choose not to invest in a Borough car parking space making it difficult for them to park anywhere near their homes.

In Heacham it is possible to purchase a residents’ permit for the Borough’s car parks for £52.80 per annum. There is also a cheaper senior citizens permit for £39.20. However, not all Hunstanton’s residents are so lucky; if you are over 60 years old you are eligible for a residents’ permit at a cost of £40.80 but for those under 60 there is no such provision and the only remaining option is to buy a season ticket that is available to anyone for £220.

Much has been written about Wayne Hemingway’s plans for the southern seafront that include proposals for an 80 bed hotel on the Seagate East car park (opposite Tesco), obviously this will reduce car parking spaces and exacerbate the on-road parking problems in the residential areas.

There are also calls for more visitor attractions and even a new pier; just where are the visitors going to park?

Hunstanton is designated as a Market Town with the only bank for many miles, shops and restaurants that employ local people and need year-round footfall. Surely residents from the surrounding villages should be eligible for a reduced rate parking scheme too, as it is all the local population that will help the town to thrive.

Is it not time we had an overall plan for car parking? And to solve the problem of on-street parking include a subsidised residents’ parking scheme paid for out of the profits from the town’s car parks.

Please let Town and Around know what you think. Email me at: editor@townandaround.net or write to me at the address on page 2 of the magazine.