Parking and infrastructure concerns in Central Southend
Southend Labour Party has called on the coalition Conservative-UKIP administration to guarantee that no car parking places will be lost as development plans for central Southend go ahead.
Labour Councillor for Milton ward, Julian Ware-Lane, believes that the Council should be looking to expand the amount of available parking in the town centre, and not merely retain the same number of places.
At present there are around 5700 parking places in the town centre area, which includes designated car parks and kerbside availability (some of it metered), and we know that a certain number of these places will be lost due to the proposed developments. For example the Seaway car park will be entirely redeveloped; the Better Queensway development will remove the Essex Street car park as well as that in Short Street; the Marine Plaza car park will also be going.
Cllr Ware-Lane said: "The availability of parking is a huge issue for residents, and with the development plans to include new businesses then the stresses on parking will increase. Residents, visitors and businesses all need places to park, and with some significant development plans about to be implemented, we want assurances that these large scale developments will not adversely impact town centre parking."
The new developments will include many more new homes which will put greater stress on available parking as well as the local road infrastructure. There will be significant challenges ahead, particularly through Victoria Gateway, and consideration should be given to re-open The Deeping.
No adequate parking strategy appears to have been planned for in SCAAP, and no tourism strategy either. With extra housing and commercial enterprises attracting more visitors, these visitors will need places to be able to park.
Southend Labour is also calling on the ruling administration to conduct a thorough review before it is too late. “We are still awaiting sight of a parking strategy” said Cllr Ware-Lane, “promised as part of the SCAAP. I am worried that we will see a reduction in car parking as both Seaway and Essex Street car parks are built on.”