Bury St Edmunds: Pleas are made to reconsider rise in parking fees

Vehicles parked on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds.

Vehicles parked on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

IMPASSIONED pleas have been made by business leaders not to increase parking charges in Bury St Edmunds which they claim could deter shoppers coming into town and lead to some traders either closing down or moving out.

They were made by members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry at their annual general meeting, to Ian Gallin, the chief executive officer of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council.

It came during a question and answer session, with some members of the chamber saying that the charges needed to be examined to ensure there was continued footfall into the town and encouragement given to ensure shoppers were able to have “dwell time”.

Those attending the meeting on Thursday, held at Denny Bros, in Kempston Way, on the Moreton Hall Industrial Estate, said it was crucial not only to bring people into town ,but to keep them there as long as possible. However, they felt that the charges could have the opposite effect.

Mr Gallin said he would take on board the comments and pass them on to councillors and that the authority was exploring “pay on exit” measures at some sites.

“In the right place (pay on exit) it works very, very well but there is very clear recognition within the council that we need to consult with business leaders and listen. We need to keep on listening and find out what works best for all concerned,” he said.

Many members said they were encouraged by Mr Gallin’s comments, after being given a snapshot of his role since taking up his position in Bury just over a year ago. He has spearheaded the sharing of services of the two councils and standardising salaries, which he said is set to result in total savings of £3million.

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Earlier, chamber chairman Colin Knight said, although business for many was difficult, there was a string of traders keen to come into Bury.

“It may be tough, but we are still much better than the average,” he added.