If there’s one thing that can raise the temperature of Southend folk, it’s parking fees in the seaside resort. And that temperature blew the thermometer last week.
Southend residents have expressed their anger at the council’s latest parking charge hike, which will see fees across all the town’s car parks increased, and at some points – doubled.
In a bid to gauge public response, Adventure Island put the parking proposals before its social media followers, and received a heated response from residents and visitors alike.
“We have recently heard the potential plans of the Seafront Parking charges changing, at some points doubling in price and being charged through till 10pm,” said an Adventure Island spokesperson. “This is a main area where not only our staff but anyone who visits the park.”
“We would love to hear your thoughts on these potential changes.”
Former Southend mayor Sally Carr Day commented “it really is outrageous. We need a thriving seafront to bring people to Southend. So many lost their jobs, we need thriving businesses to bring employment especially for our young people.”
The sentiment was echoed by current Adventure island employee Emily Brassett, who said “this would literally cost me over three hours of my wages for one day of parking on top of petrol costs, just to get to my job, there really is no need!”
“Really??” commented local resident Ellen Papiro. “Don’t the council want people to visit Southend? Doubling already expensive parking charges is a recipe for disaster.”
Seafront traders anger at “devastating” parking rates
Following the announcement that Southend Council is to increase seafront parking charges to £2.50 an hour, local business owners have spoken out vociferously against the “devastating” proposal.
With drivers potentially paying £24 for 24-hour seaside parking, and a new annual Southend Pass costing £102, traders have rallied to oppose what is being labelled a new “tourism tax.”
“Just after taking the worst possible economic battering on record and just when you would think Southend Council would be in the mood to help business recover they come up with this bombshell,”
Adventure Island owner Philip Miller told The Echo. “Adventure Island annual passes are £50, Sealife Adventure are £15 – in comparison the council’s parking pass is £100-plus. Personally I cannot see one man and his dog ever taking up the offer.”
Despite council deputy leader Ron Woodley stating the new charges “are not unreasonable” – noting the Southend Pass averages at 28p a day – there are fears the charges will negatively impact tourism.
“It will be devastating,” said former chairman of the seafront traders’ association Paul Thompson. “We’re going to get an initial rush of people when the lockdown finishes.”
“They’re going to arrive, get hit with the horrendous £24 charge and they’re not going to come back.”