Council bosses are looking to almost double the number of paid-for parking spaces on a stretch of Sunderland seafront, the Echo can reveal.
A total of 33 paid bays were first brought introduced in 2016 in the Whitburn Road area, with Sunderland City Council now seeking to introduce 30 additional bays in Whitburn Road and Whitburn Bents Road.
Drivers wanting to use the spaces will have to pay 60p per hour, or £3 a day, from between 8am and 6pm, but parking in the spaces will be free after 6pm.
The charges do however exclude Christmas Day.
According to figures from the RAC, Sunderland City Council has made losses on its parking operation in recent years, but bosses have said that after recording a deficit of £78,000 in 2015/16, the authority was on course to make a profit for the financial year 2016/17.
Chiefs have said that parking arrangements are “constantly under review” and that discounts and free parking schemes are offered at certain times for the public.
Including paid and free bays, there are 3,749 bays on streets and in car parks in the city.
But Conservative councillor George Howe said today he fears this latest move could deter visitors from coming to the city’s seafront.
“I’m not surprised that more spaces are paid for because of the huge losses that the council has made on parking,” said Coun Howe, who represents Fulwell.
“The whole system that has been employed isn’t right in my view.
“But if they are going to bring in charges, I think it will reduce the number of people wanting to come to the seaside for a decent length of time.
“The council got the redevelopment of the seafront area wrong and I think this will be unpopular with the people.”
Councillor Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for City Services at the council, said: “The city council currently manages more than 3,600 parking spaces, from multi-storey car parks, off-street car parks, to chargeable on-street bays.
“Parking locations and possible charges are constantly under review.
“Plus, parking is an important part of how this city tackles road safety, congestion, promotes trade, and looks after the interests of all highways users.
“The council offers discounts and promotes free parking, such as our Free After 3 scheme and parking in most car parks and on-street parking bays after 6pm is free.
“Bays were first introduced in Whitburn Road in 2016 and proposals here are for 30 additional pay and display bays.
“These new bays will be pay and display all days between the hours of 8am to 6pm, after 6pm they are free.”
A public notice published in the Echo says that objections and other representations relating to the order can be made by writing to E Waugh, Head of Law and Governance, PO Box 100, Civic Centre, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR2 7DN before June 30.