Sudbury: Parking charges drive cars onto the streets
DRIVERS are abandoning council run town centre car parks in an effort to avoid recently introduced parking charges in west Suffolk.
Just two weeks after the controversial charges were introduced in Sudbury and Hadleigh to help pay off Babergh District Council’s debt, the impact of the scheme has angered residents, business owners and town leaders.
At 9 am yesterday, when the car park between the Kingfisher and Waitrose is usually full, the majority of bays were left empty while narrow side streets were packed with vehicles.
Town clerk Sue Brotherwood said no-one who understood the town would be surprised by the outcome.
She said: “We said this would happen but Babergh said it wouldn’t. The policy was clearly implemented by people who do not know the town or understand its layout and now residential streets will be littered with cars.”
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Paul Mackman, owner of the Mackman Group, a design and marketing company in Station Road, said the poorly planned parking policy would only lead to more expense and further parking restrictions in the town.
He said: “To counter what will clearly be an ongoing problem we will soon see parking permits introduced for residents which means they will have to apply for visitor permits too. This will all mean more expense for the council, more parking attendants, and probably higher charges in the car park.”
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Residents in the town centre said the number of cars parking in the streets had risen steeply since the �1.50 charge for more than three hours parking began.
A resident on Edgworth Road, who did not want to be named, said cars were now being parked on the road from as early as 6 am.
She said: “Clearly commuters and people who work in the town are getting here early to get a space and avoid charges. I don’t blame them but it’s causing a lot of anger and resentment for people who live on the road.”
John Sayers, a Sudbury town and county councillor, said cars were now packed along Cornard Road and most streets around the town.
“It’s a natural instinct to avoid being charged but I fear the loss of free parking, which was a great asset to our town, will result in further costs, yellow lines all over the place and if this carries on Babergh’s expected revenue from the charges will not materialise,” he said.
Despite the complaints a spokesman from Babergh said it was a “complete exaggeration” to suggest the introduction of parking charges was the reason for the parking bays being empty.
“In fact,” said the spokesman, “Babergh’s monitoring of the new parking regime shows that a sharp decrease in the number of car park users is simply not the case.”
He admitted that Babergh was disappointed that not all the limited parking permits had been applied for as this would have helped town workers manage the cost.
What do you think of the new parking charges and their impact on the town? Email the EADT at email@example.com.