Traders fight parking charges

MARKET traders in a Suffolk town were today rallying together in a bid to fight off massive hikes in car parking charges.About 30 stallholders at Stowmarket's twice-weekly offering have signed a petition against proposed increases in tariffs.

MARKET traders in a Suffolk town were today rallying together in a bid to fight off massive hikes in car parking charges.

About 30 stallholders at Stowmarket's twice-weekly offering have signed a petition against proposed increases in tariffs.

Among the rises currently being mooted by Mid Suffolk District Council is a staggering 600 per cent leap in the cost of annual season tickets.

Higher hourly charges are also being discussed at five car parks in the town, but traders believe it could kill the market's viability.

Paul Godden, 40, of Burstall, has been coming to Stowmarket since March, but is now considering switching his business elsewhere.

He said: "We'll be looking further a field to other markets if this goes ahead. I can understand modest parking charge increases but these are silly.

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"The only I came here instead of Ipswich was because of the reasonable parking charges, and that's why a lot of customers come here.

"If they put these charges up I think people will go elsewhere."

Mr Godden, along with his wife, Donna, 32, runs a cycle stall at the market. He said they were determined to make a stand against the moves, even if they are eventually ignored.

Karl Gipson, 38, whose family have been trading at the market for 52 years, said: "These charges would definitely have an effect if they came in.

"They would be basically sending people out of town to places like Tesco.

"The market has picked up since the town council appointed a market supervisor but this would be a knife in the back."

The plans, which are currently out to consultation, could be introduced from April 1 if approved.

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