TWELVE dilapidated car parks could be given a new lease of life as Castle Point Council is spending £240,000 to bring them up to scratch.

The run-down council car parks in Canvey, Benfleet, Thundersley and Hadleigh have been rapidly deteriorating in recent years, with motorists suffering large cracks and potholes as well as severe flooding at some facilities in times of heavy rainfall.

Now the council is set to take action, launching a three-year programme of work which could include resurfacing work, improving signage and installing new pay and display machines.

Colin Riley, cabinet member responsible for environment and street scene, said: “The condition of car parks across the borough is pretty poor and this is because we have been concentrating over the years on our front line services.

“Some of them regularly flood and really need repairing, so it’s our aim to do that and give our residents better, safer places to leave their cars.”

It comes as the authority is considering scrapping free parking in its car parks by introducing standard parking charges across the borough generating an estimated £76,200 more over the next four years.

The changes, which will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, could mean residents would have to pay:

- 50p for an hour, 70p for 2 hours, £1.10 for 3 hours and £2 for more than 3 hours at Seasonal/Sea front car parks

- 40p for an hour, 80p for 2 hours, £1.50 for three hours at Short-Stay car parks

- £2 per day for Long-Stay car parks

- New short stay charges of £1 for 3 hours at School Lane carpark in Benfleet

The move could also mean new time restrictions are introduced to stop drivers misusing the car parks and leaving their vehicles there all day.

Mr Riley added: “It’s not just about putting more money in council coffers, it’s about providing better facilities for our residents.

“The majority of this money will be fed back into improving the carparks. A lot of residents struggle to find a place to park because people misuse the carparks and we want to stop this.

“If residents or business owners do not want to have these charges introduced in their local carpark we will of course consult with them and listen to their views.”

The issue will be discussed at a council meeting at the council offices, in Kiln Road, Thundersley from 6pm on Wednesday.