A new resident-only parking scheme at five seasonal car parks across the district has been approved by Cabinet members at Thanet council.
The scheme will operate at Albion Street, Chandos Square, Broadstairs Harbour, and Joss Bay, Broadstairs and Marina Esplanade, Ramsgate, car parks from the end of this month.
It will run until 31 October. In future years, the scheme will run between 1 April and 31 October.
Daily charges for residents will be £2.50 per day, as opposed to the current daily charge of £12. Residents will also be able to buy a book of 20 vouchers for £40, which further reduces the daily charge to £2 per day.
The system will work in the same way as the current on-street parking peel and seal voucher scheme. It means vouchers must be bought from the Gateway in Margate. In “the coming weeks” they will be available from tourist information centres and eventually an online ordering system will be introduced.
Applicants will need to show local authority residency to qualify for the new parking voucher scheme – which is based on the resident not the vehicle.
But questions were raised at the meeting tonight about how Thanet council would stop scammers from buying up tickets and selling them on for a profit.
Labour councillor Peter Campbell questioned whether he could share vouchers with visiting family and then added: “What’s to stop me selling them to out-of-town visitors? How will this be enforced?”
Council leader Chris Wells admitted the scam would be possible but said sales would be monitored.
He added: “If a resident buys 400 tickets a week then of course we will look to see how and where they are going. There is a sense of testing this.”
Cllr Wells also admitted that a previous parking option put forward by councillors at the scrutiny committee to reduce resident parking to either £2 or £2,50 per hour would likely fall by the wayside as it would not be possible to run both schemes.
Concerns were also put forward about residents having to travel to Margate to get the tickets and questions raised over why you would have to prove in person, with a form of ID, that you were resident when an online system could just match your name and address to the Electoral Roll.
A question over how the scheme would impact on council finances remained unanswered.
Options previously put forward following the Scrutiny meeting were to reduce the first hour to £2, which Thanet council said would result in a loss of £20,000 income or £2.50 for the first hour which would result in a £10,000 loss of income.
Members of Scrutiny had also suggested reverting back to 2016/17 charges to attract tourists.
The Scrutiny options were put forward in response to a petition submitted by Broadstairs resident Roy Irving.
The petition’s main thrust was about the effect of the high charges on visitors and how that would impact on tourism and local business.
Cllr Rosanna Taylor Smith said adverse comments about the charges had already been made to those at the Ramsgate Tunnels.
She said: “We need tourists in Thanet to come and stay and spend money in our various businesses.”
The petition will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on July 27 but the Scrutiny proposals are unlikely to now be approved.
Thanet Conservative Party leader Bob Bayford said a “branch and root parking review” should be carried out before the scheme is renewed next year.