Marine Parade, Saltburn: Yorkshire promenade to be narrowed to allow for 125 new car parking spaces
The plans for a net addition of 125 parking bays on Marine Parade will mean a narrowing of the promenade, with opponents suggesting it will mean a loss of amenity for people wanting to enjoy the seafront views. Saltburn councillor Philip Thomson cited demand from both residents and visitors for more car parking provision and said a balance had to be struck.
About a hundred residents attended an impromptu protest on Marine Parade on Friday evening with people holding up banners, children using chalk to write mesages on the promenade pavement and the odd musician joining the gathering.
Coun Thomson said: “I can understand that people may have concerns about change and the capacity of the promenade may be reduced. But the amount of promenade to be removed and any reduction of the pavement – one has to take on balance the extra benefit of all the car parking spaces that are going to be provided.
“There is going to be no change in the width of the promenade that exists up to the lookout and picnic area opposite the Marine Hotel. The amount of reduction in the pavement after that will still allow reasonable promenading for those who want to walk the full length of the promenade.
“I have spent the greater part of my life looking to enhance the heritage of Saltburn and conserve where reasonable, but quite often in life one has to make a choice of balance between practicality and what residents have been calling for, against the traditions of conservation.”
While a combination of parking at a right angle to the promenade and bays running parallel currently exist, there will be more right angled parking introduced as a result of the repositioning of spaces, along with a widening of the road on the seaward site of Marine Parade.
The scheme was recommended following a traffic and parking study by consultants WSP/Capita, which has resulted in a masterplan being produced for the town, but despite more than 1,200 responses which were received there has been criticism over insufficient consultation.
The plans could pave the way for the council to charge for parking on Marine Parade – which is currently free – which was trailed in a previously agreed council car parking strategy, but has yet to come to fruition.
A spokesman for the council said: “The introduction of pay and display or residents parking is not within the scope of the work taking place on Marine Parade. However, it will be considered in the future as part of a boroughwide review of parking charges.”
Other highway safety measures planned include a redesign of the Milton Street junction, while a 20mph speed limit will be introduced along Marine Parade and surrounding streets to aid safe turning movements, improve the flow of traffic and reduce vehicle speeds. The detailed plans are due to go on display at Saltburn library shortly.
Coun Thomson said the plan for more right angled parking had been on the agenda for the past four or five years and funding had now become available.
He said: “The actual works as far as I know will occur in the New Year. There is some provisional electrical work at the moment ongoing in terms of moving lampposts. The plan is to provide 125 net additional car park spaces, plus six disabled spaces.”
Coun Thomson said the actual detail of the plans was yet to be properly put into the public domain and acknowledged that residents may not be aware of the specifics, and “that may prompt concern”.
There will be consultation over the imposition of traffic regulation orders that will be required with double yellow lines also being put in place on the town side of Marine Parade to allow motorists to safely enter and exit the new parking bays, meaning some parking space will also be lost.
Coun Thomson said: “The principle is putting car parking at right angles as it is from the top of the bank to the east of the Marine Hotel at the moment and replicating that thereafter, instead of it being parallel to the promenade, to create more car parking capacity.
“It will eat into some of the pavement – I don’t know the actual dimensions, but the drawings will be going on display and for anyone to look at and evaluate. The extra spaces will be available for residents to use – for residents in the ‘jewel streets’ area in particular who do not have enough highway to park upon – and it will also be available for visitors.”
Coun Thomson said he was happy with the remodelling of the Milton Street junction, which over the years had been an “accident waiting to happen”.
He said: “It is essential to address the safety of highway users and pedestrians. At the moment parking on Marine Parade west of the Marine Hotel is unsafe, uncontrolled and unsightly.”
Saltburn resident Gemma Booth said the plans were “very ill-thought out”.
She said: “The prom is a place that we can all use, there are skateboarders, cyclists there, wheelchair users, people pushing prams, dog walkers, all on the same piece of pavement at the same time. That won’t be accommodated. Over the weekend there were various pop-up groups of musicians sitting and playing and it still left plenty of room for people to pass them.
“It is our community space and they are taking it away for car parking and may then bring in charges which will affect surfers and tourism and everything else. The get together was to show our love for the prom, why we love it and how we use it. They are going to reduce the prom which will reduce the way we can use it. It will have a significant impact on all of us really.”
She said those with concerns were “fighting” to get more information from the council and claimed to date there had not been adequate public consultation, or research into the impact of the changes.
Miss Booth added: “The parking on the section only tends to be a problem in the peak summer, in the holidays. The council has been hazy about funding as well, so there are a lot of questions to be answered. We need to get some understanding of what the impact will be and all have a say in the matter as it’s our town.”
Councillor Carl Quartermain, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We remain aware of concerns raised by some people about the plan to create additional parking spaces on Marine Parade in Saltburn, and support from other residents who would like the scheme to go ahead. Our aim is to create an environment which eases parking problems for residents and provides more capacity for visitors which, in turn, will create more trade for the many excellent businesses in the town.
“The scheme was first drawn up in 2018 in conjunction with the three ward members in the town and refined through liaison by the three members. As such, it is unconnected to the current public consultation on a wider masterplan for Saltburn. The current scheme will strike a balance between creating more than 170 additional spaces and maintaining a promenade which can be enjoyed by both residents and visitors.
“Funding for the scheme is through an external grant which is time-limited – the work must start now, or the money will not be available and the opportunity to improve parking provision will be lost. Therefore, the preparatory work ahead of creating the additional spaces will continue.”