Pay to park launch in Hadleigh

PUBLISHED: 10:15 09 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 March 2010

TRADE in Hadleigh is unlikely to be directly affected by the introduction of a pay-to-park policy, new figures made available exclusively to The Evening Star reveal today.

TRADE in Hadleigh is unlikely to be directly affected by the introduction of a pay-to-park policy, new figures made available exclusively to The Evening Star reveal today.

Speculation over the prospect of the historic market town losing its free parking facilities reached fever pitch as questionnaires canvassing public opinion on the future of parking in the Babergh district landed on doorsteps.

The survey, which is included in the latest edition of Babergh District Council's magazine, Babergh Focus raised the question of whether car park users should begin to meet the costs of the service rather than the council tax payer.

Many motorists and traders in Hadleigh are set against the introduction of parking fees in the town believing it will be a turnoff to shoppers and drive trade away.

However research carried out by Babergh suggests that the majority of people using the car parks on Magdalen Road and High Street are commuters and not shoppers, exploding the belief that asking people to pay to park would affect businesses in the area.

David Woods, chairman of the car park task group emphasised that the prospect of paying to park in the town was not a foregone conclusion.

"At this stage we are ruling nothing in and nothing out, but urging all residents to let us have their views on these key issues," he said.

However a survey carried out by The Evening Star confirmed that feelings are running high with the majority of people set against the spectre of paying-to-park.

Butcher Gary Aitins of White Horse Road, East Bergholt comes to Hadleigh every week to set up in the market. He said: "A small charge is not going to break the bank but it's just one more reason for people not to shop here.

"It is hard enough trying to compete with the bigger traders and supermarkets and one of the advantages of Hadleigh is people feel they can pop in here and do some shopping without having to pay to park. If the town looses that it is bound to affect business."

Mervyn Bryan, manager at The Beer Barrel said that it was "bedlam" trying to find a parking space outside his shop on the High Street. He needs vehicle access close to the shop when bringing in deliveries and says the council need to review the whole issue of parking in the town with an eye on the needs of people trying to run a business there.

"There's not enough parking in Hadleigh full stop. By charging people they are not going to eradicate the problem they are only going to earn themselves some money," he said.

Colin Rycraft, 59, of Back Road, Hintlesham echoed the thoughts of many when he said: "I think they ought to continue free parking. I think it will affect the local business and shops if people have to pay."

Pat Lander, 67, of New Road, Naughton, said that free parking was one of the town's "assets" and should be preserved. "It makes life easy for locals and a lot of foreigners who come here."

Factory worker Mike Cook, 59, of Timperley Road, Hadleigh, said that he thought charging would drive motorists into the High Street in search of free parking.

"You will get congestion on the High Street and cars parked where ever there are no double yellow lines," he warned.

Babergh's figures show that Magdalen Road car park reaches its peak of capacity by 9am and this does not reduce until 4pm while use of the High Street car park peaks between 8am and 10am – suggesting that the users are people coming into work.

The two-page survey, which is part of a statutory "Best Value Review", is made up of three sections: how the service is used, how well it is being operated and the possible funding options for the future.

A second, 17-question form has been distributed to businesses in the area and other interested bodies in a bid to canvass a wider range of views.

Whilst the resident's questionnaire needs to be returned to the council by November 19, the businesses deadline is November 30.


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