Parking charges could destroy store

AN IPSWICH store manager today blamed the high cost of parking and public transport for bleeding his business dry.Guy Benfield, of Outdoors, a uniform shop for scouts, on Tacket Street, said he has seen customers decline by a quarter and profits fall by ten per cent since Christmas.

AN IPSWICH store manager today blamed the high cost of parking and public transport for bleeding his business dry.

Guy Benfield, of Outdoors, a uniform shop for scouts, on Tacket Street, said he has seen customers decline by a quarter and profits fall by ten per cent since Christmas.

Mr Benfield relies on people who can pop into the shop quickly to pick up a few items and he blasted the extortionate price of the National Car Parks (NCP) which he claims are killing convenience shopping in the town.

NCP – which has several car parks in the town – raised its minimum charge to £2 for two hours parking a few months ago.


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Mr Benfield said: "Unless people are coming in for the day, they are not prepared to pay the high price of parking.

"We had a man in the other day complaining he had to pay £2 so he could come in and buy £4 worth of badges.

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"The NCP should bring prices down to allow people to stop for a short stay."

Mr Benfield adds that the NCP car park opposite his store is often virtually empty.

His concerns come just days after the announced closure of Ipswich's oldest shop, Martin & Newby, because it is losing customers to out-of-town superstores.

Mr Benfield fears Outdoors could go the same way.

He said: "If Ipswich buses reduce fares to 50 pence and NCP bring back £1 per hour parking, perhaps more people can be attracted back into town before we lose anymore long-established businesses."

A spokesman for NCP said: "We are very surprised. We regard our prices as very comparable and there is a full range of car park prices available in that area around the shop.

"There is a council run car park 150 yards away that charges 60 pence per hour."

He added: "All retailers are under pressure and we think it is a little unfair to blame NCP.

"NCP is also under pressure as well and has to raise its prices."

n. Do parking prices in the town put you off coming to shop? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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