w/c 18th January 2021
A popular topic in the town over the last couple of weeks in the council’s parking plans for the upcoming year.
One side of the plan is to create new parking zones which will decrease costs in some areas and increase them in others. The seafront is one zone that will be subject to increased prices with visitors charged £8.50 for up to four hours parking versus £6.60 now. One of the council’s reasons for this rise is to align with other seaside towns such as Brighton who charge £11.70 for that same period in a similar seafront area. However in Southend the enforcement times in this zone would be from 9am-10pm costing £24.00 compared to the aforementioned zone in Brighton which has shorter charging periods and it would cost £17.00.
Other said reasons behind the increase are to ensure visitors pay for the litter and damages that are often left behind, and it will provide additional income that can be ring-fenced for highways improvements across the borough. This will be a hard pill to swallow for our BID seafront traders who, after a period of minimal income, would feel this parking change will discourage tourists to the area in a year when they will need them the most.
The other core part of the proposal is the ‘Southend Pass’ which will provide three hours parking every day if they purchase the £8.50 per month ticket. This would be the equivalent of 9p per hour if you were to park for three hours every day for a month, or alternatively 28p per hour if you were to park for ten days a month for three hours a day.
The pass would apply to all council charging areas around the borough, including the higher priced seafront zone, and the scheme is open for all residents. Their aim is to enable locals to benefit from reduced costs when visiting or working in the area but also to encourage people to visit and spend locally in Southend-on-Sea rather than heading elsewhere.
Any scheme that benefits local people is worth looking at. Only time will tell if the proposed benefits of the plan outweigh the downsides that it also presents. Search ‘Southend Pass’ to find out more about the scheme.