Calls for parking scheme near Southend Airport as rows break out between motorists

Rows have been breaking out amongst motorists who are struggling to park on side roads close to the airport, a councillor has claimed.

Residents living down roads such as Eastwoodbury Lane, Bristol Road and Avro Road near Southend Airport have been battling to park outside their homes due to the high number of airline staff and passengers using the roads to duck out of parking charges.

Southend Council is now considering a series of options to address the problem, which could include a full consultation across the area to find out what residents would like done.

A report published ahead of a committee meeting next week, notes the issue has become so severe it is “causing severe anti-social behaviour and high tensions between residents”.

Councillor Daniel Cowan (Lab), who represents the St Laurence ward, insisted the problems have primarily been between people parking on the roads to use the airport rather than between residents.

He said: “The problem is we have large numbers of holidaymakers also airport staff who are parking on the roads which do not have any kind of parking scheme on them and this reduces spaces for residents.

“Sadly we have seen some residents who were previously close friends fall out over parking because whilst everyone understands they are not entitled to park outside of their homes, if there is only one space and someone takes it knowing someone else is in a worse situation or has a driveway it causes problems.

“But the majority of the confrontations I have heard about have involved rival airport parkers, rather than neighbour on neighbour.”

Cllr Cowan said the problems had been made worse by the council’s decision last year to implement a permit scheme on Wells Avenue and the Eastwoodbury Crescent Service Road which caused “displacement”.

He added: “We have the same level of parking issues, but it is concentrated in smaller area.”

Cllr Cowan said most people want to see the permit scheme on Wells Avenue expanded onto the additional roads so that only residents can park on them between the times of 9am and 5pm.

Councillor Mark Flewitt (Con), who also represents the ward, said he is “keeping an open mind” about the options but whatever happens it should be the residents who have the final say so ensure changes are based around what they want rather than political point scoring.

He also said the issue plays into the airport’s plan to build a new 132-bed hotel on a car park currently used by airline staff.

The plans, due to be discussed on Wednesday, will cut staff parking from 86 spaces to just 45. While this has led to objections from the council’s Highways department, planning officers have recommended the plans are approved.

Cllr Flewitt added that “no decision should be made” until after a plan is in place to deal with parking in the surrounding area.

Residents living down roads such as Eastwoodbury Lane, Bristol Road and Avro Road near Southend Airport have been battling to park outside their homes due to the high number of airline staff and passengers using the roads to duck out of parking charges.

Southend Council is now considering a series of options to address the problem, which could include a full consultation across the area to find out what residents would like done.

A report published ahead of a committee meeting next week, notes the issue has become so severe it is “causing severe anti-social behaviour and high tensions between residents”.

Councillor Daniel Cowan (Lab), who represents the St Laurence ward, insisted the problems have primarily been between people parking on the roads to use the airport rather than between residents.

He said: “The problem is we have large numbers of holidaymakers also airport staff who are parking on the roads which do not have any kind of parking scheme on them and this reduces spaces for residents.

“Sadly we have seen some residents who were previously close friends fall out over parking because whilst everyone understands they are not entitled to park outside of their homes, if there is only one space and someone takes it knowing someone else is in a worse situation or has a driveway it causes problems.

“But the majority of the confrontations I have heard about have involved rival airport parkers, rather than neighbour on neighbour.”

Cllr Cowan said the problems had been made worse by the council’s decision last year to implement a permit scheme on Wells Avenue and the Eastwoodbury Crescent Service Road which caused “displacement”.

He added: “We have the same level of parking issues, but it is concentrated in smaller area.”

Cllr Cowan said most people want to see the permit scheme on Wells Avenue expanded onto the additional roads so that only residents can park on them between the times of 9am and 5pm.

Councillor Mark Flewitt (Con), who also represents the ward, said he is “keeping an open mind” about the options but whatever happens it should be the residents who have the final say so ensure changes are based around what they want rather than political point scoring.

He also said the issue plays into the airport’s plan to build a new 132-bed hotel on a car park currently used by airline staff.

The plans, due to be discussed on Wednesday, will cut staff parking from 86 spaces to just 45. While this has led to objections from the council’s Highways department, planning officers have recommended the plans are approved.

Cllr Flewitt added that “no decision should be made” until after a plan is in place to deal with parking in the surrounding area.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter