New seafront car park under consideration after bank holiday weekend of '˜absolute chaos'
Up to 160 new car parking spaces could be added at Seaton Carew as council chiefs look at making use of an empty plot of land.
Hartlepool Borough Council is drawing up a proposal to turn the old fair ground site, next to the Sandy Car Park and off The Front, into spaces.
Drivers will have to pay to park up, but there are also plans for concession spaces, which will be opened up to traders such as hot food stalls, bringing a wider choice of businesses onto the seafront as well as additional revenue into the authority.
The suggestion comes in the wake of a busy bank holiday weekend, when Councillor Dave Hunter, chairman of the council’s neighbourhood services committee, said a fresh look at the issue was needed as people struggled to find somewhere to park during their trip to the beach and nearby bars, cafes and restaurants.
The cost of the project on the council-owned land is being drawn up and will be put to the authority’s Finance and Policy Committee.
Councillor Hunter said: “This is after a weekend of absolute chaos as people tried to find somewhere to park.
“We are looking at this now and hopefully it will provide a lot more spaces for Seaton.
“It will also alleviate the situation for residents and the permit parking areas.
“At a guess the extra land will give us between 120 and 160 spaces, but as a wider proposal we are opting to look at relining the Sandy car park to further maximise spaces,
“This is all dependent on the strength of the business case, but my personal - and I stress personal - view is that this should be a priority after what was witnessed at the weekend.
“I attach no blame to the officers of the council as the weekend had unprecedented volumes of visitors, which with the best will in the world could not have been foreseen.”
Pay and display parking runs along parts of the seafront and a series of car parks from April 1 until October 31 and were introduced last year, despite opposition from residents, businesses and visitors.
A council spokesman added: “As part of the delivery of our vision for the regeneration of Seaton Carew, we have identified an option to extend the car parking capacity of this site and a business case will be considered by the Finance and Policy Committee in the near future.”