Changes to parking charges voted through

SEVENTEEN recommendations that will change the face of parking across west Suffolk will now be voted on by the cabinet.

Proposals put forward by the Car Parking Review Group that prices in St Edmundsbury car parks should be tailored individually and that free parking in Bury St Edmunds town centre is removed or restricted have been approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The review group, led by councillor David Nettleton, was set up after a petition from town centre improvement organisation Bid4Bury was presented to St Edsmundsbury Borough Council leaders in February, following controversial ‘across the board’ car parking price increases.

Councillors voted 14:1 in favour of a raft of measures that, if now ratified by cabinet and full council, could see some tariffs rise in April 2013, including those in the county’s most lucrative car park, the Cattle Market.

Other fees would remain the same or fall, while parking in Lower Baxter would be free for two hours between 8am and 10am each Wednesday in a bid to boost trade to the street market.

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One of the recommendations that will now be put before full council is an independent study into the feasibility of pay-on-exit parking.

The measure was something that Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury, said businesses wanted, to “provide visitors with complete flexibility”.

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Councillor Sarah Stamp, speaking at the meeting on Wednesday afternoon, asked if RingGo – a phone service that allows people to pay and top-up their parking by phone and text – fulfils the same function as pay on exit.

She said: “People are aware of it but they are not using it. Maybe we could have a campaign to raise awareness of how to use it. It is an incredibly simple system.”

For a full list of the proposed price changes, see

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