PARKING meters which are not allowed to issue tickets have been installed along Thorpe Esplanade.

Keen contractors put in three new machines on behalf of Southend Council before the council completed the necessary paperwork.

Traffic regulation notices, which must be advertised to residents, are needed before work is carried out but these have not yet been done.

It means while the machines have been installed motorists won’t be able to use them until the process is completed.

One outspoken critic of council parking policy said: “With expert officers being advised by expert consultants it is staggering that the council has forgotten to put the necessary traffic orders in place for these meters.

“The crisis of incompetence continues.

“The council has removed meters from busy seafront locations such as Seaway car park and Western Esplanade due to cost, creating large queues of unhappy customers.

“Yet it finds the money to install three new meters in a quieter location that can’t be used.”

A spokesman for Southend Council said: “The council’s contractor is working on upgrading parking machines in different locations throughout the borough and inadvertently proceeded to install the machines in advance of a traffic regulation order for this particular location.

“Officers are now preparing a traffic regulation order proposing the new parking arrangements and will advertise it in the local paper and on site within the next couple of weeks.”

Seafront traders have criticised the meters saying there are only four machines in Seaway car park to cater for more than 600 spaces while the new machines are for just 42 spaces.

The council spokesman explained: “The parking at Thorpe Bay Esplanade runs in a long single strip along the roadside over quite a distance. If we had provided fewer machines, you might not be able to see them and would possibly face a lengthy trek to get to one. By contrast, Seaways is a compact car park and you are never more than 63.7m away from a machine.

“The meter by the bus stop was located there because it is in a visible location that does not restrict access across a narrow footpath, especially for people with wheelchairs, scooters or buggies.”