District defends parking fees

A ROW over new car parking fees has intensified after a Suffolk council claimed shoppers had not been driven away by the decision to charge for parking in a village.

A ROW over new car parking fees has intensified after a Suffolk council claimed shoppers had not been driven away by the decision to charge for parking in a village.

Suffolk Coastal District Council says the car parks in Wickham Market, near Woodbridge, are ''just as busy'' compared with before charges were introduced on April 1.

This conflicts with evidence gathered by shopkeepers in the village. On one afternoon, they say there was just one car in the 46-space long-stay Crafers car park off The Hill.

But the council has admitted a mistake was made when signs stated charges were imposed seven days a week. The charges only apply from Monday to Saturday and the council has put up new signs.

A council spokesman said: ''The intention of introducing charges is two-fold. First, to make the situation fair and equitable across the district and secondly to manage the traffic, increasing the flow of traffic using the car parks and so making it easier for people to use them.''

Traders are still angry over the new charges and Jane Hughes, owner of the Libra shop, said: ''It is getting to be a ghost town and as well as the bad economy this is complete overkill.”