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Don't overstay or you will pay

PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 March 2010

WAR has been declared on people who flout the free car parking rules in Babergh.

Car owners who fail to keep to waiting times in the car parks could have penalty charges increased by 50 per cent.

WAR has been declared on people who flout the free car parking rules in Babergh.

Car owners who fail to keep to waiting times in the car parks could have penalty charges increased by 50 per cent.

The steep rise in excess charge notice penalties is one of the few areas of extra potential revenue available for Babergh District Council to explore, if the authority's scrutiny committee backs a recommendation to keep parking free on Thursday.

Keeping some of the last car parks in East Anglia free in the towns of Sudbury, Hadleigh and Lavenham costs the district £206,000 a year, including income of £20,000 from excess waiting penalties.

However, a task group reporting looking into charging, recommends retention of the status quo on free parking after a public consultation exercise showed 80 per cent of residents were happy for the service to be funded through council tax.

It says one of the few other ways of increasing revenue is through penalties, which are lower than the average compared with other districts, although a 25pc increase would bring in only £8,000 a year, which is dependent on infringement levels and the effectiveness of wardens.

However, the group feels there is additional potential for additional income in Sudbury by improvement of warden arrangements, with extra hours and better methods of recording.

The penalty for exceeding waiting limits in the three towns currently stands at £30, which is reduced to £10, if paid within 10 days. Should the council consider 50pc increases for the financial year 2003-4, the figures would rise to £45 and £15.

Babergh has 22 off-street car parks, with the only charges being at two small tourist facilities in Pin Mill and on the Shotley Peninsular. Of the district's 1,627 parking spaces, some 1,071 are in Sudbury, 328 in Hadleigh and 113 in Lavenham.

The consultation showed that should fees be considered, the most popular level would be 20p per hour for short stay and £2 per day for long stay.

The task group recommends a review of the balance between short and long stay places in the two major towns, and updating of disabled parking provision.


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