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Plans for £550,000 project to boost car parking in Seaton Carew after summer saw ‘absolute chaos’

The old fairground site at Seaton Carew, set to become new car park.
The old fairground site at Seaton Carew, set to become new car park.

Parking at Seaton Carew could be set for a £550,000 boost if new plans get backing from councillors.

Council bosses are looking to expand a popular car park in Seaton Carew by 350 spaces in plans costing more than £550,000.

The old fairground site at Seaton Carew, set to become new car park.

The old fairground site at Seaton Carew, set to become new car park.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee is to discuss proposals to extend the Sea View Car Park, increasing its capacity from 330 to 680.

It would be done by developing the parking on to the former fairground site and a small section of land to the north.

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.

Coun David Hunter said at the time it was ‘a weekend of absolute chaos’.

The old fairground site at Seaton Carew, set to become new car park.

The old fairground site at Seaton Carew, set to become new car park.

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.

A report from the council’s Denise Ogden, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said more visitors are expected to come to the area with the ongoing Seaton regeneration plans.

She said: “There is a demand for parking spaces at the southern end of Seaton, generated by customers looking for convenient parking close to the facilities.

“The demand for parking bays often exceeds those available.

“The lack of available spaces contributes to regular reports of parking contraventions in restricted areas and on central hatching areas along The Front, which has been the subject of road and pedestrian safety concerns.

“The proposed additional parking areas will visually improve the appearance of this area and compliment the ongoing regeneration work taking place.”

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 would 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.

Seasonal parking charges apply between April and October after last year pay and display parking was introduced along parts of the seafront and a series of car parks, despite opposition from residents, businesses and visitors.

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.

Recent public consultation events held at Seaton also found residents were critical of the lack of parking spaces, council bosses said.

If approved the development would still be subject to planning approval.

A council report recommends the Finance and Policy Committee approve the proposal to extend the parking and refer the prudential borrowing plan to fund it to the council.

A decision will be made at a meeting at the Civic Centre in Hartlepool at 10am on Monday, October 8.