DRIVERS travelled from Birmingham to Southend despite lockdown restrictions and a clear “stay away” message from council bosses, the Echo can reveal.
New figures show two drivers travelled 150 miles to Southend, before being fined for parking on residential roads near the seafront with car parks closed to deter visitors.
Brazenly, they have now appealed the parking tickets.
Data has also revealed the number drivers who have appealed parking fines in Southend since the third national lockdown began.
Two thirds of the appeals come from drivers outside of Southend.
Southend Council has faced criticism for closing its seafront car parks but deputy leader Ron Woodley insisted this “proves it was the right policy.”
He said: “This shows the size of the task we face.
“We’ve done all we can but the Government need to be more clear on travel restrictions.”
The figures show Southend Council has received 86 parking appeals in and around the seafront since lockdown began.
Only 29 of the vehicles were from Southend, while 57 were from outside the town.
It includes one driver from Wiltshire, five from London, five from Romford, and one from Biggleswade in Hertfordshire.
Martin Terry, councillor in charge of community safety, slammed those responsible.
He added: “It’s worrying and frustrating. People are still flouting the rules.
“You don’t need to come to the seafront. Southend has more places to go for a walk than just the seafront.
“These are only the appeals, people are still visiting Southend. There have been crowds, it’s got to stop.”
Closing the seafront car parks is “as far as the council can go”, bosses insisted.
Shutting the seafront completely was ruled out.
Mr Terry hit back at the critics of the council. He added: “They are undermining the work we are doing and the efforts to make the town safe.
“They need to pipe down now. Here is the evidence to show it is the right policy.”
Nine drivers from Leigh have appealed the seafront parking fines, while ten from
Southend itself also appealed.
Four drivers from Basildon, one from Kent, six from Canvey, two from Rainham, and three from Billericay, were among those who have appealed their tickets.