Plans for the introduction of new parking tariffs in Sudbury have been slammed by town councillors, with one calling for a vote of no confidence in the district council. 

During a full council meeting on Tuesday, Sudbury Town Council met to discuss Babergh District Council's plans to introduce charges in Sudbury, Hadleigh and Lavenham, which were approved on Monday.

The proposal came as Babergh District Council (BDC) announced it could no longer subsidise free parking as it faces a £6.7million budget gap over the next four years.

East Anglian Daily Times: Proposals for the tariffs were approved by Babergh District Council's cabinet on MondayProposals for the tariffs were approved by Babergh District Council's cabinet on Monday (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown, Newsquest)

It includes the introduction of a £1 charge for short stay parking for the first hour or £1 for the first two hours in long stay parking, with tariffs then rising in 50p increments, as well as a reduction in the cost of all day parking in Sudbury and Hadleigh from £3 to £2.50.

During the town council meeting, councillor Peter Beer branded the move to introduce charges a "disastrous plan for Sudbury" and said: "We've been hung out to dry."

East Anglian Daily Times:  Cllr Peter Beer Cllr Peter Beer (Image: Sudbury Town Council)

Later, cllr Steve Hall described it as "absolutely shameful" and highlighted an 8,000-strong petition against the charges, a number he said equated to 11% of the electorate.

He continued: "I would actually call here for a show of hands in basically our district council, whether anyone here has any confidence in them." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Steve HallCllr Steve Hall (Image: Sudbury Town Council)

However, mayor Jan Osborne said: "Steve, I am sorry, I am chairing this meeting. It is not a recommendation here so it hasn't got any bearing so we won't go down that route.

"What we need to focus on is the way forward. The decision has been made unfortunately we are all extremely frustrated, but the decision has been made.

"Now we need to make sure we can get the best out of this outcome as possible." 

Under the approved plans, Blue Badge holders would continue to be allowed to park for free for up to three hours in any bay of all public car parks.

Leisure centre users in Sudbury and Hadleigh would be reimbursed for their parking charges, as would shoppers at Roys in Sudbury.

BDC is also set to engage with medical centres to set up virtual permit panels that will allow those who are collecting prescriptions or attending appointments to access free parking. 

On Tuesday, Sudbury Town Council agreed to engage with BDC to discuss solutions for medical centres as well as school pick-ups and drop-offs.

The council also voted in favour of discussing the idea of a CIC (Community Interest Company) with the chamber of commerce.

BDC was tasked with exploring this option after an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on March 18.

It was rejected as not being financially viable without the CIC also having to charge a fee in order to cover costs. 

Now, as part of the cabinet's recommendations, BDC has been tasked with investigating how more powers may be devolved to towns and parishes in future.

A BDC spokesperson said: "We welcome Sudbury Town Council’s decision to work with us to continue finding ways to reduce the impact of these changes. 

"We have said throughout that we don’t want to have to introduce these charges, but can no longer afford to subsidise free parking without risking other council services, because of the significant financial pressures we now face. 

"The first thing we did was try to enter discussions with the affected town and parish councils to see how we might work together to find the best solution – and we have incorporated all viable suggestions into our proposals."

They said they are "committed to keeping charges as low as possible" and are looking at refunds for users of nearby medical facilities as well as exploring possible means-tested permit schemes for parents currently using council car parks for school drop off and pick up.

"As well as covering the cost of maintaining and managing the car parks, any additional funds raised can then go towards further improvements, enhanced on-street parking enforcement, and more sustainable travel options," they added.