Pothole repairs at a seafront car park where new charges will be introduced next week have been labelled “pathetic”.
A number of crater-like holes still litter the stretch of off-road parking in Faversham Road, Seasalter.
From Friday, April 1, Canterbury City Council will be forcing beach-goers to pay fixed fees to park there during the summer months.
But unimpressed users say the repair efforts are “half-hearted” and “laughable” after the council simply rolled loose stones into potholes lining the side of the road.
Peter Hague, who runs the Waldens of Seasalter caravan park and shop, said: “What they’ve done is pathetic.
“Potholes on the edge of the road have been filled in, but they’ve left massive holes where people park.
“They’re full of water when we have rain.
“They did the work but haven’t come back to do the rest.”
Between April and September, drivers will have to pay a fixed £3 tariff to park at weekends. On weekdays, the fee – paid via the RingGo app – will stand at £1.60.
The 600-metre car park, used regularly by walkers wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of Whitstable, has always been free of charge.
One less-than-impressed motorist said: “What they’ve done is less than half-hearted, it’s laughable.
“It’s ridiculous that they believe that work can warrant them to introduce charges.
“There are gravel rally stages in better condition, but somehow they expect you to pay £3 to park there.
“The loose stones they’ve put down will spread across the road after a few weeks and all the potholes will be back.”
More than 4,700 people signed a petition calling on the council to scrap its “disgusting” tariff plan for the car park, but the authority ignored the public outcry and ratified its proposals earlier this year.
The council has previously outlined its belief that residents will not be priced out, as the fees will be enforced between 10am and 4pm.
Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, leader of the council, said the beach is frequented by district residents early in the morning and in the evenings, rather than in the middle section of the day.
In a statement issued this week, authority spokesman Rob Davies said: “Work has started on improving the surface at Faversham Road ahead of the introduction of charges in April.
“More repairs will take place over the next couple of weeks and signs explaining the charges will also be installed.”
Poles have now been installed at the car park ahead of signage being put up.
Mr Hague said: “When we tried to get planning permission for a small perimeter fence, the council made a song and dance about it all. It was difficult to get sorted, yet they’ve just put the posts up without a planning application.”
The council admitted earlier this month that due to Seasalter’s remoteness, it will be hard for traffic wardens to enforce the new charges.
Mr Hague’s shop is set to be allocated 12 spaces, which cafe customers will be able to use free of charge for 30 minutes.
But Mr Hague says he has been left in the dark about the agreement and has not heard a word from the council about how the set-up will work.