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End of ‘parking takeover’ in town finally in sight

PUBLISHED: 11:59 16 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:26 16 February 2020

According to local residents, the digger stationed at Cefas has 'hardly moved for weeks'. PHOTO: Anonymous

According to local residents, the digger stationed at Cefas has 'hardly moved for weeks'. PHOTO: Anonymous

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After months of a “parking takeover” across Lowestoft’s beach-front carparks, it seems the end of CEFAS construction work might finally be in sight.

Cars are squeezed into every available space around the Cefas site following a Cars are squeezed into every available space around the Cefas site following a "staff take-over" of council-owned car parks. PHOTO: Anonymous

The Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has been using special council-issued parking permits during the year-long construction work, with claims that they have been "forcing residents" out of council-owned car-parks.

However, a CEFAS spokesperson has confirmed that their own car park will be returned for staff to use in April.

The demolition of the Grand Hotel and E-Block buildings is due to take place in February and March.

According to one local driving instructor who would like to stay anonymous, Pakefield Road car park and Pakefield Street car park in Lowestoft have essentially been "no-go areas" for over a year due to the fact that CEFAS staff have had no access to on-site parking of their own.

He said: "They told me well before Christmas last year that they'd have as much capacity for parking on-site as they did before the building work - but it still doesn't look anywhere near done.

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"They've completely taken over council-owned car-parks on the Lowestoft beach-front. At any one time, about 90pc of the vehicles there belonged to CEFAS staff members. The summer was a nightmare - holiday makers and visitors couldn't get anywhere near the car parks.

"A little while ago, residents received a letter from East Suffolk council explaining they may have to start paying for parking outside their own homes because of congestion.

"But the congestion was caused by a problem of the council's own making. I was so infuriated by the letter I threw it straight in the bin."

Norman Brooks, Cabinet Member for Transport at East Suffolk Council, said: "We are aware that the CEFAS development is creating pressure on car parks and on-street parking.

"The work is expected to be completed in the coming months and we understand that the situation will then ease.

"This is partly because there will be no more construction traffic, but also the new CEFAS facility will have more parking spaces than the old building.

"This development is a £30 million project which will result in hugely important scientific research in Lowestoft for decades to come - the parking situation is a short-term measure but the longer term benefits to the town will be enormous."

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