Plans to expand a popular car park in Seaton Carew by 350 spaces have been approved after councillors said it was ‘desperately needed’.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee approved £550,000 proposals to extend the Sea View Car Park, increasing its capacity from 330 to 680.
It comes after council bosses said in May they would consider extending the capacity at the site after parking problems during the bank holiday weekend.
The expansion will involve developing the parking on to the former fairground site and a small section of land to the north.
Coun Sue Little, who represents the Seaton ward, said: “This is desperately needed.
“We cannot have another May that we had last year with people parking wherever they wanted.”
Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “That was the reason for the urgency for the plans, we have been aware of what happened earlier this year.”
Proposals include the provision for designated disabled parking, coaches and long wheel base vehicles, as well as the provision for two mobile units.
A council report said the current coach and car park exceed availability on busy days and the former fairground area has been used as an overflow site, suggesting a demand for additional car parking in the area.
Denise Ogden, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “It is in response to the demand of visitors and residents.
“It seems quite a lot of spaces but when we’ve been down there over the summer on weekends it’s always busy.
“We are spending a lot of money in Seaton which will attract more and more visitors to the town.”
Construction work has been estimated at £390,000 with further costs for CCTV, landscaping, border fencing and street lighting, potentially increasing this amount by a further £150,000.
It will be funded by prudential borrowing and the area would be committed to a £37,000 annual repayment over a 25 year period, funded from income generated by the seasonal parking charges.
There is also a £33,500 cost for additional parking machines which would be funded by grant money.
Parking provision at Seaton is currently provided by a number of regulated on-street parking bays and the off-street car parks at Rocket House (83 bays) and Sea View.
The council’s economic regeneration team recently carried out consultations with local businesses who highlighted that the lack of parking was providing a barrier to their growth and that of Seaton.
The development will still be subject to planning approval and rubber stamping from full council.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service