Seafront streets top list for parking fines handed out across Southend

Motorists who park illegally on the streets near to Southend seafront run the highest risk of being hit with fines, council data shows.

Details of where the highest number of fines have been issued show that three the most common locations are Western Esplanade, Westcliff Parade and Hamlet Court Road.

They are all within less than a two-mile radius of each other and near to the seafront.

Councillor Ron Woodley (Ind), who oversees transport, said the data on parking fines handed out between April 2018 and March 2019 was “not surprising”.

He said: “We can’t get more parking spaces along Western Esplanade so many of those fines are likely due to people parking for two hours but staying longer.

“With Westcliff Parade, maybe people are trying to avoid parking far from the seafront and Hamlet Court Road is a shopping area.

“People need to remember that if they park safely, they won’t get a fine.”

Each of the roads pulled in more than 1,000 parking fines over the year and a combined total of 3,586.

The hot spots for fines are also close to the Seaway car park, which has been the focus of controversy due to a planned leisure complex that will slash the number of available parking spaces from 660 to just 555.

Cllr Woodley denied the figures are an indication the leisure centre will cause bigger problems for parking.

He said: “We are not cutting spaces, we are adding them. The car park’s current capacity of 660 is only there due to the temporary removal of coach parking.

“The original number was 468 and if the leisure centre is built at Seaway there will be 555.

“We are also looking to build a multi-storey on Tylers Avenue and improve the car park at Southchurch East, so we are not taking parking spaces away.”

Other areas with high levels of illegal parking include London Road and Trinity Avenue in the Milton ward where there were 707 and 637 fines respectively. Prittlewell Chase in the Prittlewell ward saw 627 fines and Hartington Road in the Kursaal ward had 437 fines handed out.

Carlingford Drive in Prittlewell was also high, with 385 fines. Councillor Kevin Buck (Con), who represents the ward, said this was potentially down to people trying to duck out of hospital parking charges.

He said: “If there is a high proportion of penalties issued, we need to look at the data and understand the root cause and who is being fined. Is it hospital staff? Because they should be allowed to park in the hospital grounds free of charge, it is outrageous there is a charge for them.”

In contrast to Cllr Woodley’s comments, Cllr Buck added that if most of the fines are on the seafront it shows the urgent need for a “comprehensive” review.

“If the top three hotspots for parking fines are the seafront it tells you seafront is heavily used, over-subscribed and parking is at a premium.

“There needs to be a comprehensive parking review that takes all of the issues into account, including the loss of Seaway and the demand for parking on seafront.”

The largest number of fines:

  • Western Esplanade, Milton ward – 1,321
  • Westcliff Parade, Milton ward – 1,133
  • Hamlet court Road, Milton ward – 1132
  • London Road, Milton ward – 707
  • Trinity Avenue, Milton ward – 637
  • Prittlewell Chase, Prittlewell ward – 627
  • Cambridge Road, Milton ward – 586
  • Hartington Road, Kursaal ward – 437
  • Broadway, Leigh ward – 433
  • Alexandra Road, Milton ward – 396
  • Heygate Avenue, Milton ward – 386
  • Carlingford Drive, Prittlewell ward- 385
  • San Remo Parade, Milton ward – 363
  • Queens Road, Milton ward – 341
  • Belton Way East, Leigh ward – 320

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter