End to free parking moves closer

PLANS to introduce car parking charges in two Suffolk communities are today one step closer to becoming a reality to the dismay of local residents.

Lizzie Parry

PLANS to introduce car parking charges in two Suffolk communities are today one step closer to becoming a reality much to the dismay of local residents.

Councillors meeting at Babergh District Council's strategy committee yesterday nodded through proposals to scrap free parking and introduce long stay spaces in Hadleigh and Sudbury.

The plans are part of a desperate attempt by Babergh District Council to claw back 1.4 million in this year's budget.

Under the new proposals charges will be introduced at the Station Road and Kingfisher Road car parks in Sudbury and the Stonehouse Road and Magdalen Road car parks in Hadleigh.

After three hours people wishing to park for the rest of the day will be forced to pay �1.50 as councillors claim the moves in part designed to cut down on people parking for days on end.

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But Sue Brotherwood, clerk of Sudbury Town Council questioned the council's ability to enforce the new measures branding the move a “disappointment.”

“We wanted to try anything to avoid bringing this charge in,” she said. “In the long term this process will affect all those who have to drive to town, especially those who work here; it will cost �7.50 each week.”

But she highlighted the reality of the situation, suggesting the council would need to increase their patrols of the car parks to enforce the charges.

She added: “It raises questions about how it can be monitored. It will be very interesting to see how they manage.”

Nick Ridley, chairman of Babergh's strategy committee, said all the recommendations proposed were accepted, with council tax being set at 3%, staff savings, a cut in grants as well as the introduction of car parking charges in the two towns.

He said: “It is pain all round, it is a very difficult budget. At the moment anybody can go into these car parks and park for days, there are no restrictions. We believe that in terms of traders and shopping we are not jeopardising that in any way whatsoever.

“We will be very disappointed if the plans do not go ahead, if it did not it means it will be back to the budget again to find further savings elsewhere, which will be extremely difficult because we have been all through the cupboards and they are all bare.”

The issue will be put before the scrutiny committee next week and will then come back to be debated by full council at their meeting on January 28.