Town scores in car park war
LOCAL councils are there to be knocked - and heaven knows Ipswich council's approach to traffic and motorists has sometimes seemed pretty dismissive.But give them credit where its due - the expensive decision ten years ago to repair the Crown Car Park has prevent the town from suffering the same disasters as our neighbours to the north and the south.
LOCAL councils are there to be knocked - and heaven knows Ipswich council's approach to traffic and motorists has sometimes seemed pretty dismissive.
But give them credit where its due - the expensive decision ten years ago to repair the Crown Car Park has prevent the town from suffering the same disasters as our neighbours to the north and the south.
Norwich has now seen three of its largest car parks fall victim to the "concrete cancer" and hasn't a clue how to solve the city centre parking crisis this has spawned.
It seems that Norwich is relying on motorists using the most seedy park and ride scheme you can imagine - or else arriving in the city by train.
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I'm not knocking the rail service between Ipswich and Norwich, in fact I used it this week.
But there are times when you need a car, especially if you are planning to buy a lot of bulky items - and this where Norwich's blinkered car parking policy could really hit city traders.
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Park and ride is ok for tourists and those not planning to really hit the shops.
But if you're planning to do some serious damage to your plastic - and presumably the city wants to attract these kind of people - you might want to be able to bring your car into the centre so you can make two or three visits to it during the day to fill up.
That's where park and ride doesn't really work - and as anyone who has used Norwich's Harford park and ride will tell you it's an all-expense spared temporary outfit.
There's no centre to shelter in if it's raining. There's one pay and display machine for about 1,000 vehicles at one end of the park.
You leave your car about 400 yards from it, have to walk 400 yards to get your ticket, another 400 yards back to stick it in your windscreen, and then walk 400 yards back to the machine to catch the bus. You're then knackered before you get to the city centre!
If you do decide to risk driving in the city centre then you must have got up early - the limited spaces left always get filled by 10am - or be prepared to wait in a long queue just to get into a car park and then spend ages driving around trying to find the one space in a 500-vehicle park.
At least in Ipswich we haven't lost our biggest car park and the park and ride centres are attractive and user-friendly.
But I just hope no one in Civic Centre is feeling too complacent - the Crown car park will one day be beyond repair.
I hope someone is thinking about how the town will cope then.
And there is of course one other point - the fact that Norwich is still able to attract tens of thousands of motorists suggest people still think it's worth visiting the city.
How many Norwich residents come down to Ipswich for a shopping trip, I wonder?
EVERYONE seems to be a right lather about this new European constitution and whether we should have a referendum on it.
The government says the issue is too complex and not radical enough for a referendum.
But it misses the point - most of those calling for a referendum don't see the constitution as the real issue.
The question they want asked is simple: Do you want to withdraw from the European Union?
I know many will say that isn't what they want - but you can't belong to a club if you don't accept the rules.
I'M having a few days off work, but I still haven't plucked up the courage to go down to Felixstowe yet. I understand I'm top of the town council's hit list for the comments I made a couple of weeks ago!
Apparently my asking what was the point of this body and the town mayor dominated the whole town council meeting.
I'd like to say I was flattered to hear that - but it really does back up the point I was making.
What do parish (including town) councils do - apart from give a load of worthies the chance to let off steam and come up with opinions that can be ignored when they reach local authorities with real power!