Beach patrol as police to enforce coastal car parks

Gullane Bents beach car park. Picture: Dan Phillips
Gullane Bents beach car park. Picture: Dan Phillips
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CONTROVERSIAL plans to bring in a coastal car parking charge at popular tourist beaches are facing further criticism after it emerged police officers were expected to enforce the proposal.

East Lothian Council has vowed to press ahead with plans to bring in a £2 charge to ten car parks at beaches around the county later this year, and will be installing pay-and-display machines on site.

Users of the car parks will have to pay £2-per-day, or can buy a £40 season ticket giving them free parking at all sites.

However, the council have no traffic wardens in place to monitor adherence to the new rules – and has confirmed it expects Police Scotland to issue fines to offenders.

Opponents of the scheme, who already forced a council U-turn over plans to have barriers installed at the car parks, said the public would not want to see police time “wasted” patrolling car parks.

Councillor Stuart Currie, the council’s opposition SNP Leader said: “People want the police concentrating on serious crime, not chasing people who have not paid a £2 parking fee.

“Do the council really expect them to make enforcing car park fines a priority?

“The police don’t have enough resources to cope with people parking illegally in our high streets, never mind the coastal car parks.”
And he added there would also be concern that as fines would be issued by the police, any revenue from would go to the state and not the council.

“I think people in East Lothian will be very angry that not only are they paying for the work to be done in these car parks, any fines will go to the Crown,” he said.

The car parks affected are the three at Longniddry Bents, as well as Gullane Bents, Yellowcraig, Whitesands, Barns Ness, Linkfield, Shore Road and Tyninghame Links. The council is also set to create almost 16km of double yellow lines in and around the car parks.

Inspector Alan Hogarth of Police Scotland said local officers were aware that parking charges were about to be introduced. “Although the local authority will be responsible for managing the car parks, all reports of parking offences will be handled by police officers, who will take appropriate measures as and when required in line with the Road Traffic Act.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com

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