By Matt Gaw
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
A SURVEY is to be carried out into introducing permit parking in residential areas of a west Suffolk town.
Bosses of Forest Heath District Council have commissioned Suffolk County Council to investigate parking concerns on and to the south of the High Street in Newmarket.
The project, which will be funded by the county’s On Street Parking Account, could see the creation of the first permit zones in Forest Heath, with a number of pocket car parks working in conjunction with the scheme.
Papers put before the Forest Heath overview and ccrutiny committee said that people in the All Saints and Severals ward have “long been concerned” about difficulties of parking near their homes due to a high volume of shoppers and commuters who use the area.
The investigation, which has a budget of £35,000 but is expected to cost £15,000, will involve questionning residents about their concerns and recording times when the problem is particularly apparent.
It is hoped the survey will reveal if the problem is due to “outsider” parking or to people owning more cars than can be fitted into the road. A drop-in meeting will also be held and if a permit parking scheme is considered appropriate, this will be offered to people via a further questionnaire.
The report states that it would take between 10 or 12 months from consultation to the commencement of any scheme.
Existing permit parking schemes in Suffolk are administered by district councils. Forest Heath leaders have suggested that partner authority St Edmundsbury Borough Council – which manages schemes in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill – could be involved in the delivery of the Newmarket scheme.
The report states that there are a “number of under-utilised” pocket car parks in the area and the investigation will consider if any permit scheme could include them.
Alternatively, it is said, “the loss of free on street parking by commuters could encourage greater use of these facilities.” In addition to the £35,000 allocated by the county council for the investigation, a further £15,000 has been set aside for the setting up of any scheme, including drawing lines and installing signs.
The cost of implementing the scheme and maintenance would be borne by permit holders.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “The highways team will be working with local district and county councillors to investigate the current on street parking situation in Newmarket and to develop a community-led solution.”
The overview and scrutiny commitee will discuss timetables for the investigation on March 21.