Parking charge anger
SHOPPERS are in no doubt today that they did not want large increases in car parking charges in Stowmarket.Mid Suffolk District Council is proposing parking charges in the town increase from April 1.
SHOPPERS are in no doubt today that they did not want large increases in car parking charges in Stowmarket.
Mid Suffolk District Council is proposing parking charges in the town increase from April 1.
The possible new fees will now go out to public consultation before a final decision is made.
The cost of season tickets could soar from £208 a year to £1,220 per annum, with quarterly tickets rising from £58.50 to £343.
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If approved, the charges at the Ipswich Street, Milton Road and Bury Street car parks would be 50p for up to one hour, a rise of 30p; £1 for up to two hours, a rise of 60p; £1.50 for up to three hours, a rise of 50p; £2 for up to four hours, a rise of 70p and £5 for more than four hours, a rise of £2.50.
There would also be rises at the Meadow Centre and Iliffe Way car parks.
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Car parking charges in the town are proposed to increase to such an extent that the Conservative administration at Mid Suffolk District Council will produce extra income of £340,000, the equivalent to 9 per cent on council tax.
But shoppers are angry and believe the move will discourage people from calling in to the town to spend their money.
George and Betty Dunnett, from Flowton, said the new charges would hit every motorist, regardless of their ability to pay.
He said: "This will effect everyone and council tax will still go up. We do not mind paying, but these rises are too much.''
His wife added: "This will not encourage people in. They do need to get the money from somewhere and other places are going up too, but this will stop people coming in.''
Sally Jackson, from the Cedar's Park estate in Stowmarket, said: "Some people just come in for the launderette or the job centre and this is too much.''
Marie Seaman, from Old Newton near Stowmarket, said: "The reason most people come in to Stowmarket is for the cheap car parking, Ipswich is such a lot.
"This is not good enough for a small town, not for what it offers. I would still come in, but this is not good news.''
Penny Otton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: "These are outrageous increases."
But Roger Saunders, Conservative leader of the council, said the state of the finances at the council meant they have to take decisions they would rather not have to.
The committee also debated introducing pay and display charges at Needham Market, in Hurstlea Road, the High Street, Station Yard and Needham Lake; at Eye in Cross Street and Buckshorn Lane; and at Debenham in Cross Green. The charges could be from 30p to £2, depending on the length of stay.
Councillors voted to defer a decision until further investigations into the financial aspects of the proposal were drawn up.
Meanwhile yesterday the council confirmed it will shed around 30 posts as part of cost-cutting measures to tackle a £1.57million budget shortfall.