Bank holiday parking chaos at South Shields seafront

A scorching bank holiday weekend caused parking chaos at the seafront prompting a call for better payment methods.

Some motorists were left waiting up to 15 minutes to get tickets at council-owned car parks.

In some carparks there is only one payment machine.

One motorist angered who decided to leave the seafront to enjoy the sun elsewhere.

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He said: “The seafront was packed on Saturday afternoon. The only option was to park in the overflow car park at the bents Park.

“At 2pm there must have been about 250 cars in there. It’s pay and display but I could see only two payment machines. One was rammed with drivers trying to pay, must have been 25-30 people in the queue at 2pm and about a 15 minutes wait.

“It was shambolic, I got back in car and drove off.”

He added: “It hardly attracts people to the town if they have to pay to park to visit the coast - it’s not exactly cheap if you visit for few hours - and have to queue up that long.

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “Visitor numbers are typically high during Bank holiday periods, and this one was no exception. As a result, our seafront car parks, including the overflow parking areas, were understandably very busy. In anticipation of this, we had extra officers patrolling the seafront to help and offer advice to visitors.

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“We are delighted that people are recognising the attraction of our fabulous seafront and chose to spend their time in South Tyneside. This influx of visitors is extremely positive for our local economy.

“We believe our car parking rates are competitively priced, offering good value for money at a penny-a- minute for the first hour or £3 all day, and it is good to see that these charges did not deter visitors.

“It is regrettable that some visitors had to wait up to 15 minutes to get a ticket. It is inevitable that there will be queues at ticket machines, particularly during what was the hottest Bank Holiday weekend on record.

“However, we would like to remind visitors that they can avoid queues and the need for change by paying for parking using the RinGo ticketless and cashless parking scheme which allows people to pay via credit or debit card using their mobile phone.

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“A number of additional parking machines were installed in our foreshore car parks when machines were upgraded two years ago and, while the number of parking machines at the seafront is sufficient for the vast majority of the year, we appreciate there was a clear surge in demand over the Bank Holiday weekend.”