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400 bikers planning protest on seafront today
8:00am Sunday 18th August 2013 in Local News
UP to 400 bikers are preparing to cause chaos along Southend seafront today in protest against parking restrictions.
Bikers from as far away as Norfolk and Sussex intend to block parking spaces in Western Esplanade, Westcliff, in protest at a lack of motorcycle parking in City Beach.
Organiser Bartholomew Simpson, 36, of the Green Lane Cafe biker group, said: “Congestion already goes back as far as the football stadium when it’sahot, sunny day.
“If 300 bikes are taking up places on the seafront, it will have an even more dramatic effect.”
Bikes will start filling up the council car parking bays along Western Esplanade from 7am.
Motorcyclists can park free of charge in parking bays around town, except in City Beach where they have traditionally congregated.
Mr Simpson, of Laindon High Road, said the bikers will prevent cars parking on Sunday and will not be charged themselves as they are unable to display the tickets, which can easily blow away, thus depriving Southend Council of revenue.
They will avoid disabledparking bays.
He said: “We don’t want to do it. It will muck up people’s weekends down on the seafront.
“But the council will not talk to us.”
Motorcycles used to park on the pavement or in the middle of the road along Marine Parade, but the spaces were removed when City Beach was redeveloped. This has led to motorcyclists getting parking tickets and in to arguments with traffic wardens.
Bikers have designated spaces in Western Esplanade, but want more spaces near the Kursaal.
Mr Simpson said bikers in full leathers get too hot while queuing for spaces in other car parks in the east, such as the Seaway Car Park.
Derek Kenyon, parking manager for Southend Council said: “It is not an issue that has previously been raised, as motorcyclists wishing to park near the seafront can park in bays at Southend Sea Life Adventure car park (Fairhead Green) and other car parks in the proximity free of charge.
“Up to two motorcycles can be parked inabay.
“We have not received any challenges from motorcyclists regarding the issuing of any parking tickets as yet, and will deal with these appeals in the usual way.
“With respect to the protest, the issue of maintaining law and order is a matter for the police to deal with.
“Any parking contravention would be dealt with by the council’s parking enforcement contractor within normal procedures.”
Insp Bill Potter, of Southend Police, said: “I would like responsible motorcyclists to make their protest through the proper channels and not cause disruption to the town.
“Anyone committing offences will be dealt with.”
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