A SEAFRONT trader has hit out at new signs, which tell motorists they will be left trapped in Shoebury Common car park after 9pm.

Previously, visitors parking in Shoebury Common car park could call an emergency number to be released if they found themselves locked in.

The new sign states vehicles left in the car park after 9pm will not be released until 8am the following morning.

Peter Grubb, who runs Uncle Tom’s Cabin cafe, on Shoebury Common Road, said the car park closure was not good for local businesses.

He said: “Southend’s strapline used to be ‘Southend: The place to be, come early and stay late’.

“Should we be blessed with vehicles finding their way through Shoebury to visit, they’ll be cleared out by the gatekeeper before the evening is over or face being locked in.

“It’s hardly a way for a seaside town to operate.

“It’s OK in winter, but in the summer it will cause problems.”

Peter also claims the signs are not displayed correctly and he fears people buying tickets may get caught out.

Paul Jenkinson, Southend Council’s parks technical officer, said: “The car parks are closed in the evenings at times displayed on site.

“Our staff will give people preparing to leave the car parks, the opportunity to do so before they lock the gates.

“We will check to confirm that any signs used display the correct information.”