Seaham Town Council slams county council’s parking plans as a ‘terrible idea’
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The county council, a Conservative-led coalition, is consulting on proposals to charge £3 per day or £1 per hour. It says the plans “are aimed at helping people access parking provision, supporting the county’s town centres and tourist attractions and benefiting the environment”.
The suggested changes include proposals for new pay-and-display charges in coastal areas. Durham is the only North East authority with a coastline not to charge for parking by the shore.
The county council is responsible for all aspects of on-street parking. It also owns a number of off-street car parks which are operated for the benefit of the wider community.
The town council said: “Councillors unanimously agreed to object to Durham County Council’s consultation proposals to charge for car parking on Seaham’s seafront.
“Concerns raised by councillors included suggestions that it was a terrible idea, with none of the money coming back to Seaham. People are up the wall about it because we have never charged for parking.
“Seaham Town Council has already recently been consulted on Durham County Council’s proposals to reduce the amount of funding it gets from DCC, and now Seaham is also being targeted with these car park charging proposals.
“Concern was also raised about how the proposals would have a negative impact on local residents, who already find it a struggle to park outside their houses.
“Councillors pleaded that not only would the council put in a formal objection, but also individual councillors, members of the public and regular visitors to Seaham would be encouraged to do the same.”
A county council statement said: "Under national regulations, any surplus raised from parking charges must go towards either public passenger transport services or highway improvement projects in the local authority area.
"In line with this, surplus would be used for public passenger transport services or highway improvement projects across County Durham, including at Seaham, for the benefit of local residents.”
Comments on the issue can be sent to the county council at [email protected] until 5pm on November 13.