PARKING RESTRICTIONS: Council U-turn over coastal parking
Redcar and Cleveland Council has backtracked over plans to impose parking restrictions in the village of Cowbar, near Staithes.
The council had proposed traffic regulation orders in response to complaints from residents about litter, visitors openly using fields and allotments as toilets and grass verges being destroyed by legions of campervans descending “bumper to bumper” on the outskirts of the village and their owners using it as a free campsite.
But after advertising the orders and carrying out a public consultation the local authority said it had listened to the feedback received and decided not to progress with the restrictions.
The plans had caused a stir on social media with some campervan and motorhome owners stating they were being unfairly treated.
They would have meant no waiting at any time to the north and south of Cowbar Lane, a single lane track off the A174 which leads to the village, and also restricted access to a small car park.
While there is no through access for vehicles to Staithes from Cowbar, it is a stopping-off point for some visitors to the popular fishing port and also allows access to cliff-top walks forming part of the Cleveland Way.
There have been claims that visitors to Cowbar have been harassed and intimidated by some locals, although a woman describing herself as a spokesperson for the residents previously denied this was the case.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that residents “were not anti-visitors, or anti-campervans or anti-surfers” and respectful, considerate visitors were welcome.
Adam Milward, who was among those objecting to the plans, sent a Freedom of Information request to the council requesting details of the public consultation.
In its reply the council said it had received 142 objections to the proposed traffic regulation orders, with only two members of the public in favour.
He said: “I live 10 minutes away and almost every resident in Staithes I have talked to has objected.
“Ultimately a few selfish new residents are behind this and they are trying to stop the local fishermen and surfers using the car park.
“You always get a few holiday makers in beauty spots leaving rubbish, but it can’t be an excuse to close it for everyone else.
“It’s completely out of order.”
Councillor Julie Craig, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and the environment, which includes responsibility for highways and car parking, said: “We went to consultation with the public and have looked at the responses and acted accordingly.”
Cllr Craig’s predecessor in the cabinet role, Councillor Barry Hunt said he had not been privy to the final decision that was made after resigning earlier this year, although he was involved in instigating discussions with residents.
Cllr Hunt said it had been a situation “going on for a long time”.
He said: “We were trying to please the residents and look after everybody and try and make the right decision.”
A statement from the council said: “Listening to our residents and visitors on parking issues is of vital importance and, after a thorough consultation exercise which had more than 150 responses, the vast majority of which were objections, the council has decided to not progress with proposed parking restrictions at Cowbar.
“We will continue to monitor the area where some concerns about the impact on the environment caused by irresponsible parking by a minority have been raised.
“Improving parking for residents and visitors is of high importance and council officers are continuing to consult and inform people as they implement a new car parking strategy for the whole borough.”
Robert Hoof, Redcar and Cleveland Council’s assistant director of environment, previously told a meeting it had a lot of issues with “inappropriate” campervan parking across the borough, some of which was during covid-19 restrictions.
The council has outlined plans to use Majuba Road car park, in Redcar, as a campervan friendly car park for overnight use for visitors.
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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