Plenty of spaces at park and ride site

A CONTROVERSIAL park-and-ride scheme that cost £500,000 more than budgeted is failing to pull in passengers, new figures have revealed.When the £3million-plus site opened in Martlesham in November last year, Suffolk County Council said it would attract 103,700 cars in the first year.

A CONTROVERSIAL park-and-ride scheme that cost £500,000 more than budgeted is failing to pull in passengers, new figures have revealed.

When the £3million-plus site opened in Martlesham in November last year, Suffolk County Council said it would attract 103,700 cars in the first year.

But the results released yesterday showed that target could be too optimistic – for during April there was an average of 154 cars a day using the site, less than half of the projected target of 340 cars a day.

Ben Redsell, county councillor for Woodbridge, criticised the scheme last night and said it had made no difference to the traffic problems of Ipswich.

"It has taken a large chunk out of the forest, wasted a vast amount of county council money and made that roundabout a nightmare," he added.

Peter Izzard, who was secretary of the Martlesham Park and Ride Action Group, said: "At the moment I believe it is a failure."

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A county council spokeswoman admitted: "It is not going as well as we had hoped. The growth has been slower than we anticipated, but it has been showing signs of growth and we are confident that we will build on that."

She added people who used the service were pleased with the scheme and became loyal and regular users.

But the spokeswoman said the county council needed to promote the scheme more to encourage extra users and promised there would be a major campaign during the summer.

The park-and-ride site at Martlesham has a capacity of 530 vehicles and is located off the roundabout on the junction of the A12 and A1214.

N Do you think the park and ride at Martlesham was a good idea? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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