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Work is underway on creating extra parking spaces and new greenery at Southchurch Park East car park.
Currently, the car park is gravel-surfaced, heavily potholed and – as there are no marked bays – can only fit a limited number of vehicles at present.
The work, which was approved by the council’s Development Control Committee on Wednesday June 3, will see the current parking area resurfaced in tarmac and 224 parking bays marked out.
The work is taking place within the same footprint at the current car park, so no green space will be lost. As part of the project, a number of electric charging points will also be installed.
Eleven of the parking bays will be designated “dual purpose” to accommodate overspill coach parking for the council’s designated coach parking at the Gasworks car park.
Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, said: “This car park has needed work for some time now so it is pleasing to see work now underway.
“The improved layout will benefit not only visitors to Southchurch Park East and our Green Flag Southchurch Park opposite it, but also local parents who use the car park for the school. It will also provide additional parking for seafront visitors to support our messaging around enjoying the entire length of the seafront and beach, rather than just the popular Golden Mile.
“I would stress that the additional spaces are being created by layout parking, we are in no way encroaching onto any existing green space. We will also be landscaping the outside of the car park, with trees and plants being installed to create additional green coverage.
“The coach parking facilities are there simply as a contingency, should there be any overspill of coaches at the designated coach parking facilities at the Gasworks car park on exceptionally busy weekends.
“As we continue to work towards creating a carbon-neutral town by 2030, it is important we intensify the roll-out of electric car charging points to keep up with expected future demand. As such, ducting (wiring) is being installed for all spaces, so they would have the capacity to become E charging points at some point. For example, if we look to initially set out 11 charging points, we could increase that number as and when to support the requirements of our residents.”
Work is expected to last five weeks.