Great Yarmouth traders to have their say

Yarmouth impresario Peter Jay has launched a new 'have your say' website - - accusing the borough council of 'losing the plot' concerning seafront issues.

Yarmouth impresario Peter Jay has launched a 'have your say' website - - accusing the borough council of 'losing the plot' concerning seafront issues.

Mr Jay, who owns the Hippodrome Circus and several other tourism-related businesses, said the final straw prompting the website launch had been the council's decision to massively increase the cost of car parks on the Golden Mile from April 1 without any consultation with traders - the old charge of �1 an hour has been put up to �1.50 for the

first two hours and �2 an hour after that.

He said: 'The council seems to have lost the plot and Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority is just a puppet of the council. Times are tough and we all know the reality of the situation.

'Everyone I speak to on the front agrees that they are not consulted on important things that are crucial to their livelihood, so I have come up with this up-to-date way of getting reason heard among the corridors of the Town Hall.'

He said he wanted all seafront traders and users to put their thoughts together on the site, which would then be used to guide decision makers.

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'A massive increase in central car parking charges is not a good idea in a recession and putting off your customers is a folly we have to have a go back at,' he said.

Mr Jay said that while the tourist authority was expensive to join, the website would be free to use.

He hoped a range of issues would be given an airing. Initial categories on the website encompassed parking, law and order, new events and marketing - Gorleston seafront was also not forgotten, getting its own web category.

He said: 'We shall be coming with ideas. This website is always there to gather information and ideas. We are trying to help the politicians. This is their wake-up call.'

Mr Jay, who is delivering promotional letters, banners and car stickers to seafront traders, said he hoped the website response to parking charges would be sufficiently robust to make the council reverse them before the May bank holidays.

Council cabinet member for tourism Graham Plant said it was uncertain, and needed to be made clear, who the website represented - was it meant to be an alternative to the tourist authority?

And he said: 'If a lot of negativity comes on the website, will it help to make Yarmouth a more popular destination?'

Concerning the increase in parking charges, he said the council's strategy was to encourage people to use long-stay car parks at each end of the Golden Mile where they could stay all day for �5.

He said the short-stay fee rise at the limited number of Golden Mile parking spaces was in the interest of traders as it encouraged a turnover of vehicles.

'It seems seafront businesses are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

'If they pointed out the car parks at the end of the Golden Mile to their customers, there would be no problem,' he said.