PARKING experts have been called in to investigate whether Southend Airport is causing problems in surrounding roads.
Bosses at Southend Council have commissioned Nationwide Data Collection, a firm which specialises in compiling traffic statistics, to find out whether there is any truth in complaints that residential areas are becoming clogged up with passengers’ cars.
People living in streets around the airport have reported vehicles being dumped for up to two weeks, allegedly by holidaymakers seeking to avoid shelling out for long-stay parking.
A 64-year-old resident of Wells Avenue, who asked not be named for fear of reprisals, said: “I’ve been noticing more and more problems recently.
“When the airport first started having more flights, there were one or two people chancing their luck.
“Now you see dozens of cars parked here for weeks on end.”
The airport currently has about 1,100 parking spaces, and plans 470 more as part of its terminal expansion scheme.
Long-stay places are priced at £10 a day for customers who do not book.
In September, the Echo revealed several enterprising residents were offering to undercut the airport by renting out their driveways to passengers.
Several rival firms, which offer secure parking away from the airport, are also competing for business.
However, a spokesman for Southend Council said the decision to order the investigation was not the result of complaints from residents.
The survey was completed over two days and nights last week.
The spokesman said: “A previous survey was done in December last year, and we want to compare its results with the results of this latest one to see if the new terminal building and new easyJet flight destinations have led to more people parking in residential streets around the airport.”
Alastair Welch, the managing director of Southend Airport, said he was keen to work with the council if the survey threw up any problems.
He added: “Whilst we have invested heavily in public transport from the construction of the new rail station to the construction of new bus shelters - and we have plenty of parking space on the airport - we are working hard to establish the extent of any on-street parking that may be taking place as a result of the airport.”