“An atrocious move”: key workers react to NCP cancelling free parking in Ipswich

The Buttermarket car park in Ipswich is currently full Picture: ARCHANT

The Buttermarket car park in Ipswich is currently full Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A parking company’s decision to end free parking for key workers has been described as “atrocious”.

NCP had previously offered all key workers free parking in its car parks but has recently withdrawn its offer.

Now, the parking giant is charging a reduced rate of £5 for 24 hours and offering free parking to NHS staff and volunteers at a number of sites.

None of NCP’s Ipswich carparks are included in this free parking scheme as they are not close to the hospital.

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An NCP company spokeswoman said: “NCP has always stated our commitment to supporting the NHS and its volunteers during these unprecedented times for as long as we’re financially able to do so. Our initial free parking offer was to NHS staff only and we did extend this to key workers when lockdown started as we wanted to show our gratitude to all frontline workers.

“Unfortunately, due to our own business, economic and landlord pressures, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to re-open as many of our car parks as possible with our available staff and reinstate charging for parking.”

But one key worker, who works in retail, thinks key workers are getting a raw deal.

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She said: “As someone who is classed as a key worker I think it’s an atrocious move on their behalf.

“Normally it’s the cleaners and the retail workers who get jeered at and complained about because we’re lowly paid but now it’s all turned around.

“It’s not just me, there’s hundreds of us. It’s all about the NHS – and don’t get me wrong I think they’re gold – but don’t forget about the rest of us key workers.

“I appreciate we don’t come anywhere near the NHS staff, but we’re doing our bit to keep the country going so show your appreciation for us as well.

“Just let us park there, even if it is only £1 a day. We don’t choose to go to work, we have to. Normally, I come in on park and ride from Copdock but now it’s stopped I don’t have a choice so it’s costing me double what it usually would.”

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Ipswich Borough Council will continue to offer free parking to staff and volunteers working in the NHS and social care free parking.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “Crucial workers in the NHS and social care are doing vital and highly-valued work to support the most vulnerable in our society, save lives and keep our country running.

“To help this work to continue, Ipswich Borough Council is joining the national scheme to allow these crucial key workers to park for free in all Borough Council pay and display car parks and in on-street pay and display bays.”

The scheme does not offer free parking to other key workers, or to council employees.

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