Council chiefs have been urged to backtrack on plans to introduce parking charges in Seaton Carew – after a petition has secured over 1,300 signatures.
Hartlepool Borough Council announced last December that users of Seaton’s three car parks would be charged £1 for a stay of up to two hours between April and October.
It comes as the cash-strapped authority aims to make savings, with civic chiefs arguing that the new cost is “minimal” and will help to maintain parking sites in the town.
However, a petition posted online by Seaton couple Steve and Pam Gooderham is calling on the council to rescind the proposed charges has already garnered much support.
Mr Gooderham feels the seaside resort could become a “wasteland” if the plans are carried through.
He said: “Seaton residents are absolutely fed up.
Introducing parking charges will only drive people away, and Seaton Carew will become a wastelandSteve Gooderham
“We put the petition online having spoken to several angry people.
“Some of the comments we’ve received have been very emotional, touching on what it will do to businesses.
“The council should be looking at ways to bring more visitors into Seaton Carew, because more people will spend more money to generate more revenue.
“Introducing parking charges will only drive people away, and Seaton Carew will become a wasteland.”
The online petition will remain open until mid-February before being presented to the council before February 20.
Mr Gooderham added: “This is a grassroots, non-political campaign.
“We’ve been amazed at the speed of response from the Seaton community.
“When we first started the campaign, we were receiving signatures at the rate of one every minute, and hit the 1,000 mark in just over 24 hours.
“The depth of feeling against this move from the community has been surprising, and we hope that the council take the elecorate’s views seriously.
“Imposition of these charges will seriously affect local residents, visitors and local businesses.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Whilst the introduction of new tariffs is rarely welcomed, our research does show that charging by councils for spaces at seaside car parks is not unusual.
“The proposed introduction of a £1 seasonal charge for two hours parking at car parks in Seaton Carew is minimal and would help to fund the maintenance of these sites.
“The introduction of a summer season charge would be closely monitored and reviewed by the Ccuncil’s Neighbourhood Services Committee in due course.
“The council will be formally advertising the proposed changes to the parking restrictions at Seaton Carew and any objections or expressions of support will be considered as part of this process.”
To sign the petition, visit http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-seaton-parking-charges
Hard copy petition sheets are also expected to be distributed to participating local businesses soon.