Fore Street businesses voice fears for future of street’s shops due to pricey car parks

Carole Emery ,owner of The Dress Circle , is concerned about parking charges in Ipswich.
Picture: S

Carole Emery ,owner of The Dress Circle , is concerned about parking charges in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Businesses in Fore Street have voiced fears over the future of the historic street’s shops – and cited expensive car parking as the reason.

Fore Street businesses have said there were relatively few spaces in the street itself

Fore Street businesses have said there were relatively few spaces in the street itself - Credit: Archant

Carole Emery, owner of the Dress Circle store in Fore Street, said businesses in the area felt they were being forgotten, and not enough was done to encourage shoppers into the town centre.

The NCP car park in Cox Lane charges £2.10 for one hour, £4.10 for one-to-two hours and £6.60 for two-to-four hours, which, coupled with the relatively small number of spaces with short duration in Fore Street itself, was causing an issue, she said.

“Some days I sit here and I think I am in a ghost town,” she said.

“This street is 500 years old – I think it’s absolutely terrible it is being left behind.

The Cox Lane NCP car park, Ipswich, where Fore Street businesses have said prices are too high. Fiul

The Cox Lane NCP car park, Ipswich, where Fore Street businesses have said prices are too high. Fiule picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE - Credit: Andrew Partridge

“We are all trying to make a living but it is very difficult if you are self employed and no-one can park.”

Having run the store for the last 15 years, including when it was located in Upper Orwell Street, Mrs Emery estimated that her takings had halved in that time, with around 75% of that due to car parking issues.

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“The people I speak to go to Bury St Edmunds, Colchester or Norwich – they want to bring people in to town,” she added.

Emma Tucker from Flawless Image Beauty said its clients had also complained about pricing for the car park between Fore Street and Star Lane.

She said: “We are thinking about giving our clients their car parking money back whilst they are visiting our salon – especially if our clients are just popping in for a quick treatment.

“It’s a bit harsh that they then have to pay a minimum of £1.20 during the week – though their appointment might just be for 15 minutes.”

A spokesman from Ipswich Borough Council said it encouraged shoppers into the town centre, and said that more measures are in the pipeline.

“We are continuing to invest in car parks to meet growing demand and to support Ipswich businesses.

“We also offer the best value in the town centre,” the spokesman said.

Borough-council run car parks in Fore Street and Smart Street charge 90p per hour, while the Upper Barclay Street car park is £1 an hour.

The spokesman added: “We urge people to shop around – council-run car parks offer better value than many of our regional rivals and we hope private operators will follow our lead.”

A spokesman from NCP failed to respond to requests for comment.

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