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Poll: Ipswich parking provides best value in region – survey

PUBLISHED: 09:20 25 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:46 25 January 2016

Is parking a factor in attracting visitors to towns?

Is parking a factor in attracting visitors to towns?

Ipswich offers the best-value parking among all the large towns or cities in East Anglia, according to a new survey.

Parking in or near the town centre is cheaper than that in Norwich, Cambridge or Colchester – and on a par with that in Bury St Edmunds.

That is the finding of a new survey by the Ipswich Society – which says the facts do not support claims by some people that Ipswich is an expensive place to visit.

The survey was carried out by Tim Leggett, from the society. He said it was understandable that people should want to visit different towns and cities for a variety of reasons – but the cost of parking could not be a significant reason.

He said: “I come from Bury and still visit the town, but it’s not because of the cost of parking.

Colchester High Street Colchester High Street

“There are expensive car parks in Ipswich, but generally speaking there are plenty of cheaper parking spaces – and the cost of spaces is generally less than that in other large towns.

“Bury’s parking is a similar cost but it is not as large a town centre – it does not have shops like BHS, Maplin, Primark, Tiger and several other national chains that we have in Ipswich.”

Mr Leggett said that the cost of parking in both Cambridge and Norwich city centres was higher than that in Ipswich – and that traffic into those car parks could make the journey very difficult.

Both large cities have well-established park and ride services which attract visitors who are planning to spend more than two hours in the city centre.

Bury is popular with shoppers - but is that because of the parking?Bury is popular with shoppers - but is that because of the parking?

Ipswich’s park and ride service is currently under threat because the county council, which sponsors it, says it does not attract enough users.

County officials have said that one reason for park and ride’s financial problems is the fact that town centre car parking is relatively cheap.

Ipswich Borough Council is expected to decide next month whether to double the size of the Crown Car Park by building an extra floor – or rebuilding a full four-storey car park to quadruple its capacity from the current 230 to more than 900.

Business leaders shared Mr Leggett’s doubts about whether the cost of parking had any bearing on whether people decided to visit one town over the other.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said the figures bore out what his organisation – which promotes the town centre – had been saying. He said promotions to make parking cheaper had been successful in attracting more shoppers – but there was still more investment needed in parking.

“That is why we are drawing up a new strategy to improve the parking in Ipswich town centre – including the provision of park and ride services.”

The chief executive of Bid for Bury, Mark Cordell, said he would not disagree with the findings of the Ipswich Society survey – and accepted that visitors to the town were motivated by many factors, of which the provision of high-quality car parking was just one.

He said: “It is true that Ipswich has some shops that we don’t have – but there are others that you will only find here. That’s what makes our town centres so attractive to visit – their diversity.

“The prices of the long-stay car parks, £2.30 all day, make them attractive – and you can’t be sure of getting in the Parkway multi-storey after 10am because it is popular with people working in the town.”

Colchester Borough Council’s portfolio holder for street services, Dominic Graham, said: “In the past year we have taken major strides to deliver more cost-effective services across the borough and to make it easier for residents and visitors who use our pay & display car parks to enjoy a hassle-free parking experience.

“We have led the field in the use of cashless parking, by introducing MiPermit, which allows parking to be paid using a smartphone app, online portal, text or phone call, with no need to issue a paper ticket. And we have pioneered contactless payment technology to complement the coin and MiPermit options available – recently becoming the first town in the UK to offer ApplePay, at our St Mary’s car park. I am immensely proud of the diverse attractions our town centre has to offer residents and visitors, and equally proud of the services and facilities that we, as a council, are able to provide in support of them.

“The contribution the town centre makes to Colchester’s standing as one of the most vibrant cultural and commercial centres in the region cannot be over-stated.”

Ipswich car parks:

IBC(Crown car park, other smaller parks in the town centre): £1 an hour, £1 flat rate after 3pm.

Britannia Parking (Civic Centre site inc Spiral underground): £1.50 for first hour, £2.70 for two hours, £7 for six hours.

NCP (Foundation St): £2.20 first hour, going up £2 an hour thereafter.

NCP (Tacket St/Cox Lane): £1.80 first hour, £6 for up to four hours.

NCP (Crown Street): £3 an hour.

RCP: Various sites around the Waterfront 60p an hour, Handford Rd 80p an hour.

Bury car parks:

Arc shopping centre: £2 for first hour, £4 for up to four hours.

Angel Hill: £1.50 for 30 mins, £2.20 an hour.

Ram Meadow and Parkway: £1.50 for two hours, £2.30 all day.

Colchester car parks:

St Mary’s, Balkern Hill(CBC): £1.80 for one hour, £3.50 four hours, £7 all day – higher charges on Saturdays.

Nunn’s Road (NCP): £2.50 for one hour, £6.50 for three hours, £8.50 all day.

Osborne St (NCP): £2 for one hour, £6 for four hours, £8 all day.

Cowdray Ave (CBC): £1.50 for one hour, £3.50 for four hours, £8.80 for nine hours.


  • I usually come by unicycle when shopping for clowning supplies so parking charges aren't a problem

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    The Clown

    Saturday, January 30, 2016

  • car parks are expensive in most towns unless you know the cheap ones or have a bit of local knowledge. I live just outside ipswich and travel round the town nearly everyday and i am still unsure if the carparks are even sign posted coming in via the main routes. So if i was visiting from another town which carpark would i land up in? At least Cambridge tells you how many spaces are left in the other car parks around the city. I hate coming into our town at the weekend for lots of reasons and i cant see it getting any better. A few off the top of my head traffic, its dirty,scummy people,litter over the floor,run down shops, No vibe or buzz lack of music or good street performers. Go to Cambridge and you will see what i mean

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    ashamed of town

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

  • Good to see some commentors sticking up for Ippo! Bury, Woodbridge, blah blah, totally different places with totally different needs. Unitary Rule for Ipswich!

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    Mike Derruki

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • As my grandfather always said, there is a huge difference between price and value... Even if it was free to park in Ipswich, the truth is that the constant congestion cultivated by the blinkered anti-car authorities, the depressing experience of walking around in Ipswich and the total lack of nice shopping areas with decent shops in is the real issue.

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    Suffolk Boy

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Went to town this Saturday spent £3.50 at the NCP , then bought and item that I could have got £10 cheaper on Amazon. Conclusion no point going into Ipswich for shopping.

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    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • No mention of Robery Boby Way in Bury, 20pence, yes twenty pence for first hour, all day every day.

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    Steve Blake

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • A comparison of Park and Ride charges would be useful. I don't know the answers but, as a bus pass holder Cambridge buses are free with a £1 charge for parking, Norwich has free parking but £1:50 per passenger and Colchester is free parking and free for bus pass holders. Not sure of the Ipswich cost as I don't use it as it is in the wrong place and clearly different charges apply for those without a bus pass. SCC needs to decide what the P & R is for. Is it to keep traffic out of the town or to make money?

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • So SCC want IBC to increase their parking charges just to make park &ride a viable option... Good job SCC is not in charge of the council run car parks then..... biggest mistake that IBC made was to take away the free parking spots in town...they were very handy.... but forget bury it offers a different choice as most of those who settle in suffolk are here to retire so bury , woodbridge and the likes cannot be compared to Ipswich ... ..let's concentrate on Ipswich for once are we going to have a park & ride or not ?...are we going to have a large enough council car park with cheap prices so we can force the privately owned car park prices down ? ..It's clear to me if the tory Scc get their way prices will shoot up to match the private companies and that will be the end for Ipswich as most people shop in places like John lewis , next etc where the parking is free.

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Sorry Mr Ward, but Ipswich has some great Restraunts, walk down St Nicholas St, or the Waterfront if you want posh or at least 3 cafe stile places in the town, plus your usual Fast Food outlets. Ipswich has more USEABLE shopping in the Town Centre. Asd to traffic, apart from 8:15 ro 9am in the mornings and 5pm to 6pm in the evenings and around lunch on a Saturday I can travel in to Ipswich very easily, I watch Civic Drive flow freely for 95% of the day, the only 2 places that their are problems are the One Way System around the Doc which would be removed if the lights and the cross routes across it were removed, and the same with Drown St. 7 sets of lights on Crown St in half a mile between Civic Drive and the Start of Woodbridge Road is ridiculus. But apart from that Ipswich is very easy to get in and to park.

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    The Ginge

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Ipswich parking provides best value in region – survey Actually the likes of Sudbury and Hadleigh provide the best value as parking there is free. At least for now.

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Davin- how refreshing to hear someone selling the positives of our town. Ipswich clearly doesn't compete with BSE at the top end of retail, but this isn't the be-all and end-all of retail, and fingers crossed with Jack Wills opening this will attract more to follow. I don't see the huge attraction of BSE market- it is full of the same tat as most markets with a couple of OK stalls. You might save £2 on a days parking in Bury, but with fuel between £5-8, a minimum of 30 minutes travelling time, the argument that it is easier than BSE doesn't stack up. I would also have to defend Ipswich chain and independent restaurants offering FAR more choice than BSE! I personally do not rate the food of Bills and Cafe Rouge as much as many do...!

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • cafe rouge, prezzo and bills? Ipswich has better chains and better independent restaurants than all 3 of those. Ipswich has units being filled all over the place and has many more tourist attractions than bury and probably more than colchester. the problem with Ipswich town centre currently, apart from its reputation and internet shopping, is the occasional anti-social behaviour. there needs to be a police presence at all times so that shoppers don't have to negotiate the slalom or dogs off the leash, 20 yr old mountain bikes flying towards you and homeless street drinkers. more needs to be done to enforce laws regarding dogs and bikes in the pedestrianised areas of town and much more needs to be done to help the people who are on the streets. the shops are already moving in and filling the units, its now down to the authorities to make sure the environment is an attractive one.

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • In general Bury St Edmunds pricing above still looks better than all the privately operated car parks in Ipswich, and even though you have to factor in petrol to and from Bury, the fact of getting stuck in Ipswich's gridlocked traffic system would probably balance that out too.

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • As proven NCP very expensive.

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    Ipswich Man

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • There is Prezzo, Bills coming to Buttermarket shopping center in Ipswich. Shows not everyone is keeping up to date with the news. If you didnt know the Buttermarket shopping center is being converted into a cinema and gym and restaurants.

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    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Transol

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • It is not so much cost which is a factor but value for money. My wife had a meeting in Bury on Saturday morning and I had an enjoyable 3hrs wandering around the arc, the (top quality) market and the extremely varied shops in the main shopping area. And where to eat??? where is the Café rouge, Prezzo, Bills etc etc in Ipswich?? To imply that Ipswich is a better shopping centre than Bury is patently wrong. Also what about the car park near Halfords and PC World. 20phr. Also much the same comments apply to Norwich.

    Report this comment

    Tony Ward

    Monday, January 25, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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