THE introduction of pay and display parking meters near South Marine Park in South Shields will deter visitors coming to the town, critics have claimed.
Free parking had previously been available in the section of Beach Road between Bents Park Road and Salisbury Place – on the bank next to the park.
But now pay and display parking meters are to be installed in the area in a bid to create a “more consistent parking strategy” in and around the town centre.
And, as part of the plans, residents from 142 to 166 Beach Road are to be offered access to a residents-only parking scheme, to ensure they can park their vehicles near their homes.
The parking permit will be free for the first year, cost £10 in the second year and £20 thereafter. But one town resident, who did not wish to be named, expressed anger at the move.
He told the Gazette: “So now South Tyneside Council, in its infinite wisdom, is introducing parking charges on the Marine Park bank.
“South Shields is also dying from a lack of visitors and King Street and surrounding areas are a joke when looking for a decent place to shop.
“Parking charges will not help businesses at all.”
Coun Ahmed Khan, Independent Alliance representative for Beacon and Bents, has claimed parking charges were becoming a “cash cow” for the council and predicted that the cost of the residents’ parking permit would spiral year on year.
He said: “The top and bottom is that there is no such thing as a rationalised parking strategy.
“This is purely about one thing, and one thing only, that’s generating extra revenue for the council.
“Increasingly, motorists are being taxed in all kind of ways and it’s becoming obvious that they are, in effect, cash cows, that the council feels can be milked for every last drop.
“This scheme is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next two or three years we are going to see a plethora of these type of schemes, introduced whether or not residents or businesses want them.”
A report to the recent meeting of the council’s Riverside community area forum said: “These proposals are expected to result in an increased turnover of vehicles with more spaces being available at any one time as there will be less opportunity to abuse the time limits.
“This is expected to benefit local businesses as customers and clients will have more chance of locating convenient parking spaces.”