Bury St Edmunds: Charges proposed for car parks at Lawson Place and Southgate Community Centre

CHARGES may be introduced at two car parks on estates in Bury St Edmunds to deter people from parking there all day.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Bury St Edmunds Area Working Party has recommended that parking at Lawson Place car park at Moreton Hall and the Southgate Community Centre car park near Hardwick Lane is free for up to three hours, with a charge for drivers who exceed that time.

This would be in place from Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. The charge would be �30 within 14 days and �70 after that.

The proposal is going before the borough council’s cabinet next Wednesday and is subject to consultation.

Working party chairman councillor Robert Everitt said: “It would appear that people are using these car parks to either catch the bus into town and have free car parking or car sharing with one car taken into town.”

He added that it is believed people are also parking at the Southgate Community Centre car park to avoid paying the charges at nearby West Suffolk Hospital.

Mr Everitt said it was decided to dissuade these drivers parking at these car parks all day by making them pay over the odds, but not create excessive parking charges for the community.

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Lawson Place car park is used by those visiting amenities such as the doctors’ surgery, Tesco and the community centre and the Southgate Community Centre car park is used by people attending activities and events there.

Moreton Hall councillor Trevor Beckwith said: “In principle it’s a good idea, but we will have to see how it works and play it by ear.

“We have got to be able to get people to the doctors and pharmacy and community centre, but we have got to talk to all the businesses there and get them on board as well and make sure staff have got somewhere to park.”

He said his only concern with the proposal was whether it would disperse cars into the residential areas.

Councillor David Nettleton, who is currently leading a review of the borough council’s car parks, raised the issue of how drivers’ length of stay would be monitored.

The proposal would not involve drivers getting a ticket from a machine.

Mr Nettleton, who represents Bury’s Risbygate ward, said: “What I was confused about is, if we allow it to be free, how do we know when somebody starts their three hours?”

He said he had not really received an answer on this.

He said his idea had been to introduce a charge of 20 pence for three hours in order to keep track of drivers’ length of stay.

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