Majority of council car parks closed to deter gatherings

Published Friday, 27th March 2020

Red and Blue car parked side by side

Ten council-owned car parks have been closed as the council continues to implement measures to tackle the spread of Coronavirus.

The Government announced on Monday that people should be staying at home, and gatherings of more than two people in public are prohibited. However, there have been a number of instances and reports of groups gathering and particularly around the seafront and in parks.

In plans to prevent this from happening, the council has now closed a number of car parks in hot spot locations:

  • East Beach
  • Shoebury Common South
  • Shoebury Common North
  • Thorpe Esplanade
  • University Square CP
  • Southchurch East CP
  • Gunner Park Car Park 1 & 2
  • Gas Works Car Park
  • Fairheads Green (next to the Sealife Centre)

Seaway car park will also be closed as of this evening.

This is in addition to the recent announcement that 1 hour parking restrictions had been lifted to promote staying at home, and also the scaling back of parking enforcement in all pay and display car parks and on-street parking bays.

Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, said: “Whilst the majority of residents have adhered to the Government instruction to stay at home other than in very specific circumstances, we have seen too many examples of people gathering in groups, particularly in the seafront area. This is unacceptable and we hope that closing these car parks will further discourage groups gathering in these hotspot areas, including parks.

“The national instruction has been crystal clear. We must stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. If you are out exercising or travelling to work, you must observe social distancing measures. I cannot stress enough the importance of following this. We must all stick together whilst we work through what is an incredibly difficult time. Failing to adhere to the restrictions put in place not only puts those and their families at risk, but also, the wider public.

“We have left some car parks open to support those shopping for essentials, and we continue to adapt to the ongoing outbreak, we will ensure we take the necessary steps to protect our residents.”

To find out which car parks are open, please check our Car Park Directory.

For trusted information, please visit our Coronavirus Information pages.