Car park prices slashed in Stowmarket

A TOWN centre car park is set to slash its daily charges in time for the busy Christmas period.Bury Street Car Park, in Stowmarket, will reduce its daily tariff rate by £1.

A TOWN centre car park is set to slash its daily charges in time for the busy Christmas period.

Bury Street Car Park, in Stowmarket, will reduce its daily tariff rate by £1.50 if mid Suffolk councillors agree to the shopper-friendly plans.

The town's trade was thrown into turmoil earlier this year when price hikes were introduced to all the major car parks.

Now, in an attempt to win over shoppers ready for Christmas and the January sales, it has been recommended the Bury Street car park is given a two-month reduction.

The rates will be reduced from £4 to £2.50 for drivers wanting to park for a whole day throughout December and January.

Market traders collected a petition when increases were introduced earlier this year.

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Stallholders said the move would stop visitors coming into Stowmarket and affect their income.

Grant Reynolds, head of economic development at the council, said this has not been the case.

He said: "The decision to raise car park charges has attracted accusations that local retail trade will be adversely affected.

"In reality the actual collective ticket sales for the first 31 weeks of this financial year have not reflected any dramatic reduction compared to the same period last year.

"Nevertheless, the council needs to be mindful of such concerns, and to be alive to opportunities that could help bolster local trading conditions."

Emma Roberts, the town's market officer, said: "I'm sure all the traders will support this move.

"Many of them are not taking as much trade as they use to before the charges were upped and the run up to Christmas is a very important time for them.

"The town council would love to be able to help them more but unfortunately the car park charges are managed by the district council and there's nothing we can do.

"They can travel into Ipswich and use the park and ride schemes for a third of the price."

Mid Suffolk district council will decide whether to give the plans the go-ahead at its meeting on Monday.

Are the council doing enough to encourage shoppers into Stowmarket? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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