CAR parks in Castle Point appear to have been abandoned after the council introduced parking charges.

A number of residents said they were frustrated at the charges and waiting restrictions, especially Oak Road car park, Canvey, after it continued to flood in heavy rain.

Charges were introduced on February 1 at Oak Road as well as Richmond Hall, Benfleet, and Lubbins car park, on Canvey seafront.

Since then, the usually busy car parks appear to have been quiet as people park free elsewhere.

George Whatley, 72, of Limburg Road, Canvey, said: “All the while people are told to pay for a car park which is only half usable because of flooding, then why on earth would they use it?

“It is totally wrong and of course people will look elsewhere if they can save some money.”

Disgruntled residents took to Facebook to vent their frustration at the condition of the paidfor car parks.

Tara Newman said: “It’s in such a poor state – don’t use it.

“They will soon take away the pay and display, unlessamiracle happens and they sort the puddle out.”

Meanwhile, others have joked a “boats for hire” service should be introduced.

A £240,000 refurbishment of the car parks will begin in spring to improve the condition of the council’s parking facilities.

Residents can still park free at car parks in Hart Road, Thundersley; Homestead, Hadleigh; Richmond Avenue, Benfleet; Castle Lane, Hadleigh and Thorney Bay, Canvey.

Colin Riley, Conservative councillor responsible for the environment and street scene, said he was not aware of a drop in the number of people parking.

He said: “We will review the situation at each car park, but it is far too early to do that at the moment.

“After three to six months we will be in a better position to act, if we need to. We’ll see what happens.

“Oak Road is the first one that will be repaired. We have commisioned a drainage survey as there is a problem every time we get a deluge of rain.

“This is being carried out as we speak and we are already pumping the car park twice a week.

“However, we can’t begin excavation works until the survey is concluded.

“I expect to see things progress over the next couple of weeks and the work may be done in two months.”