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Fight for car park

PUBLISHED: 20:06 06 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

RESIDENTS in Bramford are today waiting to see if their much-used car park will be put up for sale.

The village's residents and traders were furious when they saw signs saying the 20-space, free car park in Gippingstone Road was due to close.

RESIDENTS in Bramford are today waiting to see if their much-used car park will be put up for sale.

The village's residents and traders were furious when they saw signs saying the 20-space, free car park in Gippingstone Road was due to close.

They were especially angry as the notice was put up just three days before the proposed closure date of April 1.

Mid Suffolk District Council, who had planned to cut costs by closing the car park, has since admitted a proper consultation did not take place.

It is now discussing the future of the car park with the parish council, with the facility remaining open until an agreement is reached.

Andrew Good, the district council's chief executive, said: "As a result of parish council representations last week, we accept the parish council should've been properly consulted."

But prior to Mr Good's comment, Ray Lee, the council's assets and contracts manager, had said: "About two years ago, we wrote to the parish council and asked if they would like to take the car park, but they said they were not interested.

"We would've got into a lot of expense if we'd have written to everybody and I don't know what else we could've done to let people know."

He added the property portfolio of the council is being kept under constant review in the wake of £1.57million budget deficit in the last financial year. Currently the council spends around £1,500 a year to run the car park.

Many people in the village were outraged at the lack of consultation.

Peter Hodgkins, deputy chairman of the parish council, described the handling of the affair as "shambolic".

He said: "If the district council wants to realise its assets there are other ways of doing it. It should not take a vital amenity out of Bramford just because it's hard up."

Jane Hunt, of Jane's Hair Fashions, in The Street, said: "It's a vital amenity for the village and I think its loss would affect trade in the area. A lot of people rely on this car park."

Signatures were being collected for a petition against the plans.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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