Southend is suffering from a serious parking problem. It affects residents, hospital patients and visitors, shoppers, businesses, commuters and day trippers alike. I believe an affordable and efficient park and ride scheme has to be part of the solution to this headache.
If you’ve driven into town or along the sea front recently on a (sadly all too rare this year) sunny Saturday or Sunday, then you’re probably not in a rush to do so again. Lack of parking has caused grid-lock on our roads and is bound to deter people from returning.
Suitable out-of-town parking, regularly serviced by a reliable bus service and possibly linked to the rail network too, could alleviate pressure on Southend’s busy roads, reduce pollution, cut down accidents and free up town centre parking for local residents.
As well as improving the environment we live in, it could bring in much needed trade to the town. It may also negate the necessity to widen the A127.
I know this has been looked at before by the Tories and come to nothing. It’s time our parking problems were tackled head-on – and solved!
Previously, I believe the site at Fossett’s Farm has been considered but I think we need to find somewhere outside of Southend to avoid bringing so much traffic near the town. A car park located around Saddler’s Farm would, to my mind, be a better location. Here the A13 and A127 come close together and link up with the A130 from the north. Buses could link to Leigh station to bring people into Chalkwell, Westcliff, Southend shopping centre and then onto Shoeburry – which misses out on tourist trade. Being at the end of the line, as we are, the trains are nowhere near their capacity whilst serving this stretch of track and a deal with C2C would enable us to utilise this spare capacity. A bus route via the A127 could service the hospital, seafront and be an alternative route to the town centre. I imagine a part-time bus lane would be needed on the A127 on weekends and bank holidays to ensure smooth running of the park & ride service, reverting back to a normal traffic lane during weekday rush hours to allow commuter traffic to flow.
This is just an idea I’m putting up for discussion as we need to find some solutions to our parking problems and I don’t think building more car parks in the town centre is the only solution.