Parking charges wrangle

A SUPERMARKET chain today claimed victory in a legal wrangle over the cost of car parking in Stowmarket – but not everyone is happy.Asda had been in dispute with Mid Suffolk District Council over increased tariffs introduced on the town's Meadow Centre car park.

A SUPERMARKET chain today claimed victory in a legal wrangle over the cost of car parking in Stowmarket – but not everyone is happy.

Asda had been in dispute with Mid Suffolk District Council over increased tariffs introduced on the town's Meadow Centre car park.

But a deal has now been struck that will see the cost of short stays reduced compared to the original proposals. Increases on hourly tariffs will rise by 20p an hour, by 50p for one to two hours and by £1 for two to three hours.

The store, who own the site, had claimed they were not consulted over the proposed increases, which led the council having a rethink over their plans.

A spokeswoman for Asda said the company was "extremely happy" to have reached a compromise.

Meanwhile, the council has increased the cost of long term parking in Iliffe Way from £3.50 to £8. Other hourly tariffs will also rise by between 50p and £2.50 an hour.

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Fay Johns, owner of The Coffee House, in The Buttermarket, believes the move unfairly penalises workers.

She said: "I don't think the car park should be totally free but to charge £8 to park more than four hours is too much. Where does it leave the workers to park?"

She added: "I think most traders in Stowmarket have noticed a downturn since the new parking charges were introduced – the town definitely isn't as busy."

Town councillor and Bury Street trader Marilyn Finbow echoed these sentiments and added it could cause traffic problems elsewhere.

She said: "I'm pleased the council has looked at limiting the charges, but I'm very disappointed they felt the need to increase the charge for long term parking.

"People who come to work in the town can't afford to pay that sort of money for parking. Many are now using side streets to park and you can't really blame them.

"The Iliffe Way car park has been virtually empty since they introduced the new charges."

The town's flourishing market has already been hit by the increases, with three stalls leaving since they were introduced.

Mid Suffolk District Council declined to comment on the issue.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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