Victory for blockade bikers
BIKERS who threatened to boycott Felixstowe this summer unless they were made more welcome were today celebrating victory – after council chiefs met their demands for more parking.
BIKERS who threatened to boycott Felixstowe this summer unless they were made more welcome were today celebrating victory - after council chiefs met their demands for more parking.
Motorcyclists had threatened to blockade the seafront in protest every Sunday with up to 200 willing to take part.
But following an on-site meeting yesterday afternoon, officers at Suffolk Coastal have now agreed to give the bikers back their parking and will designate an area of the leisure centre forecourt for their machines.
Dave Barker, of the Motorcycle Action Group, said: "We are really pleased with the outcome and the council has said it will get on and mark this area out as quickly as possible.
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"It is such a shame that we had to take action to make them see what we were saying - otherwise the council just does not listen.
"We were never consulted about the changes to the car park and to remove parking for those on two-wheels went completely against current government recommendations which say councils should be providing more parking for us."
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He said the area now agreed was about ten yards by ten yards and would provide ample parking for bikers and would be well-used.
Previously Pier Bight had a set-aside area for bikes equivalent to four car parking spaces next to the sea wall, providing enough space for around 25 bikes.
But after a £37,000 revamp of the car park in Undercliff Road West, just three spaces were left - not a block together, but single spaces dotted around the car park between spaces for cars.
Bikers were unhappy that these were not together as they like to meet to chat and relax, but also that the spaces were only large enough for one bike and too close to cars to be safe.
One bike has already been damaged because its side-stand sank into the tarmac and it fell over. The bays have now been closed and are to be block-paved.
According to the council, the tarmac was of the correct type but had melted in the recent hot weather. The cost of the block paving will be met from the council's car park maintenance budget funded from car park income.
A council spokesman said officers have met the motorcyclists' representatives and agreed a solution to the parking problems.
When Pier Bight was reorganised, more spaces had been provided for motorcyclists in the Convalescent Hill car park, also in Undercliff Road West.
What do you think of the revamped Pier Bight car park? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk