Adventure Island’s Marc Miller is spearheading a campaign to block development plans by Southend council, over fears that reduced parking will see tourism numbers plummet.
The owner of Southend’s Adventure Island amusement park has launched a campaign against a town centre development plan over fears it will fail to address the resort’s shortage of parking spaces.
The Stockvale Group, which also owns seafront attractions including Feelgoods pizza restaurant and prize arcade and the Sea Life Adventure, is leading an effort to get the Southend Central Area Action Plan scrapped.
The campaign has attracted the support of other seafront traders, who share concerns that Southend’s tourism economy will take a big hit if more parking spaces aren’t created in the resort.
Marc Miller, managing director of Stockvale, told the Echo newspaper: “Southend is a very successful seaside town. The main issue is a lack of parking, which causes congestion. We have tried to discuss the issues with the council because it is a threat to businesses and residents.
“Although we don’t think they are doing it on purpose, the councillors seem to have a blind spot for the necessity of tourism and parking in the town.
“More parking is very achievable by adding extra floors to our current car parks, improving signage and reviewing all street parking, as there are many double yellow lines that just do not need to be there.
“Making these changes will not only help businesses, it is much needed for the residents of the town as more parking just simply means less congestion.
“If people know they will get stuck in traffic and not find parking, they will stop coming to our town, so we can’t afford to lose one more space.”
Mark Flewitt, councillor for housing, planning and public protection services, defended the action plan as a “positive, forward-looking vision for the future development of the town centre and seafront.”
He said: “It covers topics such as retail, housing, employment, leisure, culture and tourism and is intended to guide how the town will develop up to 2021.
“We would encourage people to read the whole document and see the aspirations the council has across a range of issues that are important to the future development of Southend and to all those who live, work and visit here.”