"Coaches Welcome" in Southend
With immediate effect, coaches can now access free parking at the seafront “Gasworks Car Park” if they book in advance by calling the Visitor Information Centre on 01702 215620 open 8am - 5pm daily. Visitors will receive a welcome from the Visitor Information team upon arrival to advise them of local events and activities and help them make the most of their visit. The “Gasworks Car Park” is open 8am – 8.30pm daily.
The town also operates a number of coach drop-off points at seafront locations - including opposite and outside Adventure Island, Southchurch Avenue just before the Kursaal and outside Sealife Adventure - so that coaches can drop off passengers to the beaches before making an onward journey to the coach parking facilities.
The new arrangements come just a week after members of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Development Control Committee gave consent for the Gas Works Site to operate for up to five years as a car park. Prior to this decision, the Gas Works site was restricted to operating for a limited number of days a year as a car park under permitted development rights. The new arrangements mean that parking at the site will be permitted every day of the year.
Cllr James Courtenay, Cabinet Member for Growth, said: “The coach industry plays an important role in Southend’s visitor economy, bringing scores of visitors to our town in a single vehicle at prices that are affordable to families.
“We are delighted to be working with the CPT and the coach sector to encourage more visitors to Southend. We are continuing to work with the local business community and will be developing a coach drivers’ pack with the BID to really roll out a first class Southend Welcome.”
Jacqui Dallimore, Chair of Southend Tourism Partnership, welcomed the new scheme. She said: “Coaches are an important part of the visitor mix and can really help keep numbers coming to Southend all year round.
“I’m delighted to see the council and coach industry working closely together to ensure Southend remains an attractive destination for coach operators and their passengers alike.”
Andy Warrender from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT UK), the trade body representing the operators of coaches and buses in the UK, said: “CPT is delighted to learn that Southend has today launched a new ‘Coaches Welcome’ initiative and a free all-day parking site for visiting coaches.
“The Gasworks is ideally situated and allows coaches to park up safely and securely within walking distance from many of the town’s key sites and attractions.
“In addition to boosting the local tourism economy, coaches help to alleviate congestion – a single coach can remove up to 30 cars from the road - improve local air quality, free up valuable road space and therefore provide quicker journey times for all road users.
“Southend has demonstrated a clear understanding and commitment to coaches, drivers and, most importantly, their passengers and we congratulate them on the launch of this new initiative.”