Traders set for showdown

TRADERS in Stowmarket were set for a showdown with council bosses as unpopular hikes in car parking charges were due to be pushed through today.The Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce have accused Mid Suffolk District council of "incompetence" over proposals to raise prices for parking in the market town at a time when its economy is in a "precarious" position.

By James Fraser

TRADERS in Stowmarket were set for a showdown with council bosses as unpopular hikes in car parking charges were due to be pushed through today.

The Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce have accused Mid Suffolk District council of "incompetence" over proposals to raise prices for parking in the market town at a time when its economy is in a "precarious" position.

Council chiefs have included their comments in a report to a meeting of the council's executive committee - due to be held this morning – but nevertheless recommend the charges go up.

Countering concerns from Stowmarket's retail community, they argue that if charges were abolished, council tax on a typical Band D property would have to increase by £8.31. If prices were kept at their current level, the council would lose £13,000 in projected income.

They also claim that a recent regeneration report has found that car park charges were "not an issue".

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The charges would vary from 20p to £3.50, depending o the car park and the length of stay, with the largest rise an extra 50p for a stay in the Meadow Centre for people staying for longer than four hours.

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