HOPES of making car parking “free after three” in Felixstowe to help struggling traders have today been dashed.

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Labour councillors and businesses believed their campaign to make the town centre car parks free after 3pm would attract visitors to the resort and encourage mums to stay on after the school-run and shop during what traders say is a “dead” part of the day.

Chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade, Andrew Rowdon said after lengthy discussions the idea had been rejected by Suffolk Coastal.

“I think it is a bit short-sighted. At the end of the day we need something to give our town centre a boost,” he said.

“I can understand the council would be losing revenue but I think there would be big benefits in getting more people to come to Felixstowe, getting more shops up and running. The money is in the pot – it’s a matter of how they use it.”

Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Andrew Nunn said: “We have given some serious consideration to the request by traders but while we are sympathetic to their requests, such a move cannot be afforded by this council at a time when like everyone else its finances are under severe pressure.

“Such a move in Felixstowe, and inevitably with requests then from across the rest of our district, would see a significant drop in our income from car parking, potentially to the equivalent of £80,000 in Felixstowe alone such is the current popularity of them at that time of day.

“The reality is that our town centre car parks are already well used and that our pricing is excellent value for money.”

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