Long-stay policy ‘driving motorists on to streets’

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A worker at a children’s centre in Hadleigh has asked the town council to help alleviate parking problems experienced by 42 staff at the facility.

Kate Batty, who works at the Brett River Children’s Centre, told councillors that restrictions imposed on the town’s main Babergh District Council-run car parks made it impossible for staff who needed to “come and go” at frequent intervals throughout the day.

Currently, motorists can park in the Magdalen Road car park free for up to three hours or all day for £2. However, if they leave the car park and return, they cannot simply re-use the long-stay ticket or apply another ticket because they could get fined.

Ms Batty said: “If you have a ticket for the whole day and leave the car park, you can’t come back within four hours. Most of our staff have to go out on visits and return after an hour or so, but there is nowhere in the town where they can legally do this in a car park. This then forces them to look for spaces on side roads that are already overcrowded and this impacts on residents.”

The centre asked Babergh if it could purchase 10 spaces in the car park, but the request was refused, said Ms Batty, who added: “For much of the time, the long-stay section of the car park is not full, so we asked Babergh if we could purchase 10 spaces specifically for our use, but they said no.”

Councillor Penny Cook said it seemed “ridiculous” to have long-stay spaces that were empty most of the time when there were people who were willing to pay to use the spaces under different conditions. She added: “It’s part of Babergh’s strategic thinking on parking that is driving people out on to the streets to park.”

A spokesman for Babergh said: “For those who use the Hadleigh long stay car park on a regular basis, parking permits are available and they offer a significant discount compared to the £2 daily rate. One month costs £25, it’s £75 per quarter and £250 per year.”

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