December 20 2013 Latest news:
By Craig Robinson
Thursday, December 20, 2012
SUPERMARKET bosses have been urged to extend a two hour free parking restriction in a bid to help alleviate problems in a Suffolk town.
It comes after reports that a shopkeeper in Saxmundham has given up his lease because of frustrations over the lack of car parking spaces - sparking fears that others may follow suit.
Last night Bob Foyers, chairman of the town’s business association, said parking had long been a bone of contention. He admitted there was no easy solution, although he thought an extension to the current two hour free parking restriction at the Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets could help - encouraging people to visit the town centre after they had completed a shop.
“There is never enough parking spaces,” he said. “The parking that we do have - especially the long stay - is always taken up by the people who work in the town. That’s understandable but it’s counter productive. I know of examples where people have had to drive around looking for a space and because they can’t find one they don’t come back. That’s happening more and more.
“The obvious solution is to build a new car park but where would you put it? We’ve thought and thought about it but there’s no easy solution. I think if the supermarkets could extend their time limits by half an hour or an hour it could make all the difference. It would just give people that little bit longer to come into town.”
The town’s main Market Place car park currently provides 84 spaces, while a further 18 spaces are available at the railway station.
Clive Denton, branch manager at Saxmundham’s Waitrose, said on average customers spent around 30 minutes in store and therefore the two hour limit provided additional time to visit the high street while ensuring other shoppers can still find a space.
A Tesco spokesperson said they may review the situation in the future but for the festive period they would be more flexible with their car parking arrangements to allow customers to get all their shopping done - both at the store and in the town centre.
Suffolk Coastal District Council has said it will look at options for providing more spaces but insist parking provision has increased.