East Lothian Council

Council to charge for coastal parking

Published Tuesday 18th December 12

Sandy Beach

East Lothian Council has voted to introduce parking charges at 10 coastal car parks.

The charges will be introduced at the three car parks at Longniddry Bents, Gullane Bents, Yellowcraig, Whitesands, Barnsness, and the three car parks at John Muir Country Park - Linkfield, Shore Road and Tyninghame Links.

The 10 were chosen from a total of 13 car parks after each was evaluated according to such things as road safety, traffic and visitor management, the impact on the environment and on the local economy and tourism. Based on this, it was decided that Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve, Skateraw and Thorntonloch car parks would remain free of charge.

A charge of £2 will apply daily from 8.00am to 6.30pm, April to September and 8.00am to 4.00pm, October to March. An annual season ticket of £40 will cover all car parks. Blue Badge holders will park free.

The parking fees will be collected by a combination of automatic barriers and ticket machines. It is expected that work to install the necessary infrastructure including electricity and road works will cost around £700,000. The work will be carried out in phases from 2013 to 2015.

Council estimates that following the introduction of charges there will be an initial drop in visitor numbers but a recovery soon afterwards with an increase in visitors of 10% over a 10-year period, yielding an average net annual income of £440,000.

The Council’s environment spokesman Councillor Norman Hampshire said:

Our coastal tourism strategy is based on our outstanding natural environment providing a quality tourism experience and that includes investing in facilities that meet visitor expectations.

The revenue from the parking charges will be ploughed back into the maintenance and upkeep of coastal facilities including car parks as the key to providing this visitor experience. However, without this investment the sites will inevitably decline and hurt coastal tourism.

Full details of the charges are available in the Council papers for the meeting of 18 December.

 

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East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.