Free parking returns in village

FREE parking is to return to a Suffolk village following claims from traders that new charges for motorists were hitting business.Eleven spaces will be provided in a long-stay car park in Wickham Market to give drivers a half-hour stay at no charge.

FREE parking is to return to a Suffolk village following claims from traders that new charges for motorists were hitting business.

Eleven spaces will be provided in a long-stay car park in Wickham Market to give drivers a half-hour stay at no charge.

But Suffolk Coastal says the rest of the charges will remain, though people will not need to buy tickets until 9am each day.

“Car parking charges were introduced at Wickham Market because we needed to do something to free up the parking spaces around its centre, and to make things fairer across the district,” said council cabinet member Andy Smith.


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“In April we introduced charging at two of the village's car parks but made it clear we would monitor its effectiveness over the coming months, while the new system settled down, and would revise it if necessary.

“We have listened to the comments we have received, and looked at the evidence we have gathered and have been given, and have met with the parish council.

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“We are now fine-tuning our arrangements in a way that we think should resolve many concerns. Next week we will have a further 11 spaces where people can park free for up to half an hour, and charging at the car parks will now start an hour later at 9 am.”

Mr Smith said it was hoped 9am start for charging would particularly help mothers dropping children at school.

“The measures we introduced were for the long-term good of Wickham Market as offering unlimited free parking usually means spaces are filled by people who are not shoppers,” said Mr Smith.

“Some people were not happy when we introduced charges, but the economic reality of Britain today is that all shops are suffering and I think it is unfair for some to try and put all the blame for a reported downturn in trade at some shops in Wickham Market on our decisions.

“Our main aim in the new set-up at Wickham Market was to ensure as far as possible that people wanting to shop in the town would be likely to find a space, by avoiding others staying all day in the free car park in the middle of the village.”

Do you think the 11-space free parking compromise will work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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