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Compromise over church parking

PUBLISHED: 20:00 11 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Council is prepared to bow to pressure from the town's church leaders and offer a compromise in an on-going car parking charge row.

A plan to introduce fees around the town centre on Sundays has angered clergymen who feel it would have a negative impact on their congregations, which are mainly made up of suburban worshippers travelling by car.

IPSWICH Council is prepared to bow to pressure from the town's church leaders and offer a compromise in an on-going car parking charge row.

A plan to introduce fees around the town centre on Sundays has angered clergymen who feel it would have a negative impact on their congregations, which are mainly made up of suburban worshippers travelling by car.

Penny Breakwell, the council's transport portfolio holder, has met with church leaders and set out a proposal that would exempt church-goers from paying parking charges on Sunday mornings.

She said: "The council is very concerned that we want the town to be vibrant and include churches so we do not want to cause any problems in that area.

"We have looked at the issue very carefully and I will be suggesting to the committee that we could offer some permits to allow the congregation to be able to park for longer than one hour."

Church leaders broadly welcomed the compromise although they still expressed reservations.

The Rev Haley Dossor, priest-in-charge of St Mary at the Elms in the town centre, has led the protests against the parking charges.

He said: "It was a constructive meeting. We put our point of view across and Ms Breakwell came up with an alternative proposal that the council will be prepared to discuss the issue of permits where members of the congregation will get free parking on Sunday mornings."

Under the new charges, the normal Monday to Saturday fees would apply in council-owned car parks on Sundays and Bank Holidays while it will cost £1 to park in the evenings.

Mr Dossor added that he and other church leaders were not entirely happy with the council's offer as they feel that Sundays should be recognised as a special day of the week in which making and spending money is not a priority.

"We will consider the proposals in a separate meeting and will go back to Ms Breakwell before the council have their sub committee meeting on January 22," he said.

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