Parking charges to return to Seaton Carew despite objections
The return of parking charges at Seaton Carew has been approved by councillors.
They voted in favour of a package of seasonal parking restrictions at a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council last night.
It includes charging visitors to park in the Sea View, Rocket House and Coronation Drive off-street car parks.
Visitors will also have to pay and display on parts of The Front and The Cliff.
The restrictions will be in force from April 1 to October 31.
The fees were introduced for the first time last year despite widespread opposition from residents, visitors and businesses.
Consultation events to monitor how the scheme was working were held in May, July, September and November.
A number of amendments were brought in after people raised concerns at the first event.
They included extending free disc parking limits on sections of The Front from 30 minutes to an hour and in the Seaton Park car park from one to two hours.
The council said fewer people attended later events, suggesting the changes largely addressed concerns.
But Seaton ward councillors James Black and Leisa Smith and members of the public said there was insufficient information about the impact to businesses, visitor numbers or if it had improved road safety.
Coun Black said: “Just because there was a low turnout doesn’t mean what we are doing is correct.
“It hasn’t been a success, please dismiss it.”
Former Seaton councillor Paul Thompson said irresponsible parking was still happening.
Coun Dave Hunter, chairman of the Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “I do agree we should have consulted [beforehand], we got it wrong.”
He said irresponsible parking was an ongoing issue but the scheme would see enforcement officers working longer hours to help tackle it.
Seaton resident Sue Little claimed: “Businesses have been affected greatly.”
Other residents complained about problems parking in their streets due to vehicle displacement.
Council officers said further resident-only permit zones were being considered.
Committee member Coun Jim Lindridge said: “Nobody likes parking charges, but I do feel what the officers have recommended seems fair and a consistent approach, and reflects the needs of both residents and the council.”
Charges will be £1 for up to two hours, £1.50 up to four hours and £2 all day.