More free parking for shoppers to boost town centre trade

Free 30-minute parking has been extended to 13 more East Suffolk Council car paerks. The Thoroughfare car park in...

Free 30-minute parking has been extended to 13 more East Suffolk Council car paerks. The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth is included in the scheme Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

Free parking has been extended in towns across east Suffolk – to help shoppers shop, and traders facing tough times.

Bays offering 30-minutes of free parking are now available in 48 of the area’s cars parks after 13 more car parks were added following the end of the second Covid-19 lockdown.

New tariffs were introduced in August, which were designed to simplify charges and better reflect the needs and historic usage of parking facilities. But it became clear that issues created by the virus have affected parking behaviour.

Free 30-minute off-street parking was not always available in towns where there were a large number of on-street parking bays and car park charges aimed at prioritising shoppers and visitors making longer visits.

However, social distancing measures in town centres have meant a number of the on-street bays have been removed and because of this reduction in spaces, the council has decided to offer the 30-minute free parking more widely as part of its off-street car park provision.

The council also believes the overall impact of the virus on high streets and businesses mean extra steps should be taken to encourage more people to return and ‘shop local’.

Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport, said: “Moving into Tier 2 enables many businesses to reopen and for customers to return safely to our towns to support our local businesses in the run up to Christmas. Social distancing measures have reduced the number of ‘on street’ bays and so it makes sense to increase availability in our car parks for people who are making quick ‘pop in’ visits to our town centres.

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“Before this year, our car park charges varied enormously with no fewer than 56 different tariffs. These were inconsistent and difficult to justify, so we introduced a far simpler scheme which not only made it easier for people to understand but also reflected the genuine requirements of businesses and visitors alike.”

With Covid restrictions reduced, parking patrols will also be monitoring residential zones and car parks. Responsibility for managing roadside parking offences in Suffolk was transferred from the police to the district and borough councils earlier this year in a bid to improve parking locally and drive down nuisance and unlawful parking.

Residential parking schemes are available in Beccles, Halesworth, Lowestoft and Woodbridge and East Suffolk Council’s parking officers will be checking that these schemes are being used only by permit holders. To reduce inconsiderate parking and abuse of these schemes and council-owned car parks, any irresponsible or nuisance parking will now be enforced.

30 minutes for free: East Suffolk car parks providing half hour free parking:

King Street, Aldeburgh; Oakley Square, Aldeburgh; Blyburgate, Beccles; Hungate, Beccles; Newgate, Beccles; Priory Lane, Bungay; Wharton Street; Bungay; Brackenbury Fort, Felixstowe; Clifflands, Felixstowe; Convalescent, Felixstowe; Crescent Road, Felixstowe; Felixstowe Pier, Felixstowe; Highfield Road, Felixstowe; Landguard, Felixstowe; Manor Terrace, Felixstowe; Fore Street, Framlingham; Market Hill, Framlingham; The Elms, Framlingham; Angel North, Halesworth; Angel South, Halesworth; Bridge Street, Halesworth; Station Road, Halesworth; Thoroughfare, Halesworth; Clifton Road, Kirkley; Pakefield Road; Kirkley; Pakefield Street, Kirkley; High Street, Leiston; Sizewell Road, Leiston; Battery Green, Lowestoft; Britten Centre, Lowestoft; Clapham Road, Lowestoft; Kirkley Cliff, Lowestoft; Royal Green, Lowestoft; St Peters Street, Lowestoft; Tennyson Road, Lowestoft; Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad; Market Place, Saxmundham; Sizewell Beach, Sizewell; Ferry Road, Southwold; Harbour Quay, East Southwold; Southwold Pier, Southwold; Thorpeness Beach, Thorpeness; Chapel Lane, Wickham Market; The Hill, Wickham Market; The Percy Mason, Wickham Market; Hamblin Road 1, Woodbridge; Oak Lane, Woodbridge; The Station, Woodbridge.

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