Car parking charges set to rise
A BUSINESS leader has criticised plans for an increase in car parking charges in north Suffolk.Cash-strapped Waveney District Council is being recommended to increase charges by 10% from next April but the move has been attacked by Philip Reeve, chairman of Halesworth Business Connections.
By David Lennard
A BUSINESS leader has criticised plans for an increase in car parking charges in north Suffolk.
Cash-strapped Waveney District Council is being recommended to increase charges by 10% from next April but the move has been attacked by Philip Reeve, chairman of Halesworth Business Connections.
He urged councillors to "think long and hard" before endorsing any further increases in car parking charges in small market towns like Halesworth.
He said: "These charges have a huge impact on shops and businesses and any increase threatens the economy of towns like ours."
Mr Shreeve said it was not only shoppers and visitors that were put off by car parking charges.
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"There is also a problem for staff who work in the town and have to park here every day.
"I know that car parking costs are a major factor in trying to attract staff for businesses in the town centre so these increases would have a definite knock-on effect," said Mr Shreeve.
Waveney District Council's executive is meeting early in the New Year and is being recommended to support the car parking increases.
A report going before councillors says that the proposed 10% increase will bring in an extra £88,700 income although officials believe this could be reduced to £79,830 as more people stop using the car parks.
At Halesworth and Bungay the 30p charge for one hour will remain the same but all other charges will be increased if the recommendations are supported.
Parking for two hours will go up from 55p to 60p, three hours from 80p to 90p, four hours from £1.10 to £1.20, and over four hours from £1.60 to £1.75.
There are similar increases planned for car parks at Lowestoft including the town centre car parks at the Britten Centre and Battery Green.
Parking all day in the centre of Lowestoft at the Britten Centre will increase from £2.50 to £2.75.
Council officials believe that motorists will still use the car parks if charges are increased.
The council report states: "Car park income generally has increased in line with expectations.
"While there is bound to be an element of resistance, there is nothing to suggest that further fee increases will have a detrimental effect on overall income."
There are no plans to increase the costs of car parking season tickets that were raised considerably last year.
It is hoped that by keeping these prices pegged they will represent better value to customers.
It currently costs £40 for a monthly car park ticket in Waveney and £110 for three months.