CASTLE Point council is set to raise an additional £100,000 per year after endorsing a bid to introduce winter parking charges on Canvey seafront.

A number of councillors opposed the plans during a full cabinet meeting, raising concerns over the effect on traders, while one urged the council to hold off on increases until seafront regeneration is complete but without success.

The car parks are currently free off season between September 30 and Good Friday.

The proposal, discussed at a cabinet meeting last week, would see visitors charged 60p for an hour and up to £4 for three hours.

After much debate, councillors approved the recommendation to endorse the plans, but held back on introducing Saturday charges at some town centre car parks.

The Oak Road car park on Canvey, Rectory Road car park in Hadleigh, and Richmond Hall car park in Benfleet, were set to have Saturday charges introduced, but councillors blocked the bid, insisting it would not bring any positives.

New off-street parking for the seafront was approved near Western Esplanade and Thorney Bay.

During the meeting, Castle Point Councillor, Peter May, said: “Think of our traders on the seafront, their trade really reduces in the winter months, so we are meant to be working with our traders, but I feel like this is going against our traders. This could cost our traders a lot and we could see businesses fold. I would like to see we hold putting the fees up on the seafront until the regeneration is complete.”

Leader of the Canvey Independent Party, Dave Blackwell, added: “The Labworth is quite unique, it is free in the winter months, but because of what the volunteers we have done there, they have made walking along the seafront a pleasant experience no matter the time of the year. It seems like the council is capitalising on the work of the volunteers. In winter, the car park is quite full because a lot of groups use that car park to walk along the seafront every day to stay fit and healthy, so this council is about to do is penalise all those people. You want the people of Canvey to spend £100,000 a year to park and walk along their own seafront maintained by volunteers.”