Fears for Southend night-time economy over evening traffic wardens plan in draft parking strategy

Night-time traffic wardens could be coming to Southend, and business-owners are warning the move could “kill off ” the town’s evening economy.

Southend Council has published its draft parking strategy, which includes plans to introduce new evening and night-time controls.

No areas have yet been revealed for targeting, parts of Southend with a high number of restaurants, bars and clubs are all expected to be considered.

The proposals follow a public consultation held by the council last year. Only 206 people responded to the online poll, and 98 agreed or strongly agreed with the idea.

The council strategy says: “We wanted to gauge the level of support for potentially extending parking enforcement into the evening where there is significant night-time activity subject to local consultation.

“Accordingly, the option to introduce evening and night-time controls where there is evidence of need and subject to local consultation will form part of the final parking strategy.”

The council has already announced it is set to extend parking enforcement on Southend seafront beyond the current 6pm to 9pm. A previous attempt at increasing parking charges around the Cliffs Pavilion fell flat after a wave of protest last year.

Philip Miller, owner of Adventure Island, said: “It’s unfathomable to me how our leaders at the civic centre whilst safely ensconced in their ivory towers keep coming up with even more ways to kill off people’s businesses.

“Do they not realise folks are short of money and it will only get worse?”

A council spokesman said: “Nowhere is currently planned, but will be subject to annual review. These will only be considered where there is compelling evidence of a need (such as the seafront).

“A comprehensive and thorough review of parking charges and a zonal approach to the borough was introduced from April 2021. A post-implementation review is now required and for changes to be made where necessary – review needs to be undertaken.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter