Traders hit out over car parking

A STOWMARKET business leader today claimed the town was being forced to subsidise free car parking elsewhere in the district.Mid Suffolk council was today expected to finalise plans to introduce massive tariff hikes for car parking in Stowmarket.

A STOWMARKET business leader today claimed the town was being forced to subsidise free car parking elsewhere in the district.

Mid Suffolk council was today expected to finalise plans to introduce massive tariff hikes for car parking in Stowmarket.

But the council has already indicated its intention to drop moves for pay and display machines at free car parks in Needham Market, Debenham and Eye.

This is because a report found it would not be cost-effective, but the move has outraged Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce chairman Denis Barnard.

He said: "It seems we're being asked to foot the bill for free parking in other towns in the district.

"It's completely and utterly unjust. We're subsidising free parking in mid Suffolk.

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"People in Stowmarket should remember that when it comes to the next round of local elections."

The hikes being considered by the council include a 600 per cent rise in the price of some annual season tickets.

Hourly charges would also go up at car parks in Ipswich Street, Milton Road, Bury Street, Meadow Centre and Iliffe Way as part of the plans.

This has sparked a storm of protest around the town, with the market traders starting a petition against the proposed hikes.

Mr Barnard also criticised the council for taking money out of the town and spending it elsewhere.

But a council spokeswoman said money was being pumped back in.

She said: "It costs around £200,000 to maintain car parks in Stowmarket and we make a contribution of about £20,000 to the running of closed circuit television in the town.

"All the other car parking profits go into a general fund, which will partly go towards the regeneration of Stowmarket."

The council is currently trying to fill a budget black hole of £1.57million and hopes to generate an extra £340,000 from the increased charges.

The axing of around 30 council positions was also being discussed at the meeting today.

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