Bury's parking capacity questioned

A COUNCILLOR has called for action to resolve potential parking problems surrounding the new �100million Arc development.

A COUNCILLOR has called for action to resolve potential parking problems surrounding the new �100million Arc development.

Amid the excitement and optimism surrounding the new shopping development in Bury St Edmunds, fears have been raised about whether the town can cope with the huge increase in traffic.

The opening weekend was described as an unprecedented success but a potential problem came amid reports that nearby car parks had ground to a halt within the first few hours of Saturday morning.

Park-and-ride schemes were laid on by St Edmundsbury Borough Council but it appeared many motorists opted to park close to the Arc as they visited the town in their thousands.

Council chiefs last night moved to quell any fears that the parking infrastructure could not cope with the new centre and complemented both traffic managers and the response of the public.

But David Nettleton, independent borough councillor, told the EADT he had received reports that the Cattle Market car park had been completely full by 10.35am and the nearby Parkway multi-storey by 11am.

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By midday, the traffic had backed up hundreds of yards away from the centre - grid-locking some of the main roads in the heart of the historic town.

Lack of car parking in the market town was one of the chief concerns as soon as detailed plans of the development were revealed.

And Mr Nettleton, part of a new political group set up to fight for the planned link between the old and new parts of the town, said: “My conclusion is that there wasn't enough car spaces on Saturday and that the park and ride scheme was not as well used because people are not used to it being there.

“At an early stage, it became quite chaotic. If people were coming to Bury for the first time, they might have left with a poor impression. Something needs to be done and quickly.”

But Mr Nettleton admitted the weekend had thrown up some unique traffic problems with a parade of Honington servicemen going through the town on Saturday morning and causing some road blockades.

Sara Mildmay-White, deputy leader of the borough council, said: “The town was heaving on Saturday but I would like to congratulate the traffic managers and the police for how they managed the opening weekend and members of the public who were incredibly supportive.”