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Incompetence claim in car parking row

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 March 2010

FURIOUS traders have accused district councillors of incompetence for increasing town centre car parking charges at a time when trading conditions have been described as fragile.

FURIOUS traders have accused district councillors of incompetence for increasing town centre car parking charges at a time when trading conditions have been described as fragile.

The new charges for Stowmarket vary from 20p to £3.50 depending on the length of stay and which car park in the town motorists use.

The largest rise being introduced is an extra 50p for parking at the Meadow Centre for more than four hours.

But the increases could force some businesses into closure according to Richard Wallis, chairman of the Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce.

"We are in complete disagreement with Mid Suffolk District Council over the increased car parking charges within Stowmarket.

"Mid Suffolk District Council realise the town centre economy is fragile," he said. "To venture forward with these charges at such a time is paramount to incompetence.''

The Chamber has been lobbying the business community and district council to try and get parking costs scrapped, although it was seeking for the fees to at least be held at their current level if that failed.

Officials have suggested axing the charges is unfeasible and Ray Lee, the district council's land and development manager, said such a move would lead to a further 8.2 per cent jump in council tax bills on band D properties, an increase of £8.31.

He also added that keeping charges at the existing level would cost the authority £13,000 in income they had already planned for.

Mr Lee, who recommended the increases, said: "The recent Civic Trust study looked at both the town centre and Stowmarket as a whole and expressed the opinion that car park charges are not an issue.''

The new car parking charges will affect the Ipswich Street, Milton Road, Bury Street, Iliffe Way and Meadow Centre car parks.

They will come in to force on April 1 after being confirmed by the council's executive committee yesterday during a meeting at their Needham Market chambers.


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