Coach drivers 'cause loss of trade in town'
BUSINESSES are being adversely affected by coach drivers failing to use a town's coach park it has been claimed.
Skegness Town Council are wanting to take on the running of the coach park in a bid to encourage more drivers to use it to stop day visitors being dropped off outside the town's Embassy Theatre on the seafront.
High street businesses claim to have seen a fall in footfall from day visitors.
Nicola Williams, who has run Nicola's Nursery World on the High Street for 11 years, said: "My takings are down by 70 per cent and that is down to the loss of business from the coach park.
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"People are being herded like sheep to the seafront.
"Before people would be dropped off at the bus or train station and people would walk up.
"I 100 per cent believe that is why we lost Marks and Spencer and other big names in this town."
Another member of the public informed the town council that he counted 11 coaches picking up day visitors outside Yates' Pub in a three hour period.
Councillor Phil Kemp said coach drivers do not like using the coach park because there is nothing there for them.
He said: "Most people coming off a coach want to go to the loo and particularly coach drivers want somewhere to have a cup of tea."
Councillor Steve Kirk said the coach park could be better utilised and suggested a pay to use toilet could help subsidise the cost.
But Mayor, Councillor Jim Carpenter, a bus driver for 40 years, skeptically said that coach drivers will always drop off at the seafront because they will be more likely to get a bit of extra money in tips.
He said: "You will never cure the problem – they will always drop off on the seafront."
Councillor Mark Anderson also a former bus driver said Lincolnshire Roadcar used to run a shuttle service to the seafront and suggested that this idea could be presented to Stagecoach. "The coach park is not used at all – it's a white elephant," he said.
Despite the town council's views, East Lindsey District Council told the Target they have no plans to transfer the management or running of the coach park to the town council.
A spokesman said: "The coach park is well used by coach drivers throughout the season.
"Some coach companies do decide to drop passengers off along Grand Parade before parking in the coach park for the day.
"Although there are no toilet or café facilities on the coach park itself, there are some in very close proximity."
The council said they will soon be refurbishing the Lumley Square toilets, thereby showing a continued commitment to improved facilities in Skegness.