High parking cost drives traders away

PARKING here is just too expensive – and we will not be coming back.That was the word from Pat and Quentin Barrett, who have been running the Name Frame stall in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, Ipswich for the past two weeks.

PARKING here is just too expensive – and we will not be coming back.

That was the word from Pat and Quentin Barrett, who have been running the Name Frame stall in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, Ipswich for the past two weeks.

The Blackpool-based traders, who travel to shopping centres across the country, say the parking charge of £10.50 a day to park in the Buttermarket car park is too expensive.

Mrs Barrett, who runs the personalised poetry and crystal stall with her husband, said: "This is the only shopping centre we have been in that we have to pay for car parking.

"Other car parks in centres have let us use it for free.

"We are having to pay £10.50 each day – that is £70 a week extra on top of the rent. We just wouldn't come back.

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"We are going to Bury St Edmunds. Bury is absolutely brilliant. You can park your car for no charge."

But the Buttermarket management has said that the car park is intended for short-stay shoppers – and not for business use.

Colin Roberts, the Buttermarket manager, said: "What everybody else has done is that they have delivered, set up and then gone to park somewhere else.

"It is not standard practice for centres to provide car parking.

"I would recommend they use the Park and Ride – we have one of the best Park and Rides in Suffolk.

"The car parks in the town centre are short stay car parks. They are not meant as business car parks.

"How many spaces would there be for shoppers if all the businesses parked in short-stay car parks?"

He added that other businesses were not, in his opinion, put off by the parking charges.

Mr Roberts said: "We don't think businesses are discouraged by the car parking – there are very few empty shops.

"We have now got seven regular handcarts – we don't offer them free parking and they get on very well."

Paul Clement, chair of the Ipswich Partnership – which works to promote business in the town – is in agreement.

He said: "Town centre car parks are designed for people to do their shopping and leave. They are not designed for long-stay car parking.

"But if you are going to be there every day and going to stop there for a long time, there are alternatives. Park and Ride is significantly cheaper."

Mr Clement added that car parking was not likely to become more expensive over the Christmas period.

He said: "As far as we are aware, there are no plans to increase charges to benefit from increased usage over the Christmas period."

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