Car parking costs set to soar

MID Suffolk taxpayers were today told massive hikes in Stowmarket car parking charges were the "least outrageous" solution to the council cash crisis.At a meeting of the district council's executive committee yesterday, councillor Eddy Alcock said other options were 12 redundancies or another nine per cent on the council tax bill.

MID Suffolk taxpayers were today told massive hikes in Stowmarket car parking charges were the "least outrageous" solution to the council cash crisis.

At a meeting of the district council's executive committee yesterday, councillor Eddy Alcock said other options were 12 redundancies or another nine per cent on the council tax bill.

About 30 jobs are already likely to be shed. Council tax is currently due to rise by 6pc.

Mr Alcock's comments came as the council discussed its general fund, which includes £340,000 expected to be generated through the new higher parking charges.


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These are likely to be formally ratified at a further meeting of the council later this month, although consultation is continuing.

But the plans have already met with outrage. Chamber of Commerce chairman Denis Barnard said he feared Stowmarket was subsidising free parking elsewhere in the district.

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Councillors also ditched plans for play and display machines at free car parks in Needham Market and Debenham.

But the possibility of introducing charges at these car parks in the future will be investigated.

Stephen Joyce, council head of financial management, said there was no conclusive evidence introducing charges would make enough money them to be worthwhile.

Councillors urged a further review to be carried out in future, based on a more long-term investigation into the move.

Despite objections from both Penny Otton and Wendy Marchant, the proposal was approved.

n What do you think? Are you outraged by the new car parking charges? Do you think jobs should be sacrificed or taxes raised to keep costs down?

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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