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Parking price hike a ‘kick in the guts’ say shoppers, commuters and businesses

PUBLISHED: 19:00 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:20 28 October 2020

Station Road car park, Woodbridge.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Station Road car park, Woodbridge. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Over 200 people have signed a petition in opposition to plans to increase the annual parking fee for car parks in East Suffolk.

Howard Saunders set up the petition Picture: GARY FITZPATRICKHoward Saunders set up the petition Picture: GARY FITZPATRICK

Annual parking charges for the former Station Road car park, now known as the Deben, in Woodbridge are set to treble if plans set out by East Suffolk Council are to go ahead.

The current annual charge for the car park, which is run by East Suffolk Council, is £240 but this could increase to £650 under the plans.

A petition has been set up local resident Howard Saunders, who was frustrated by the impact the changes could have on local residents and businesses.

“There’s no where else to park,” said Mr Saunders.

Former Woodbridge mayor David Mortimer is frustrated by the potential impact on businesses Picture: Victoria PertusaFormer Woodbridge mayor David Mortimer is frustrated by the potential impact on businesses Picture: Victoria Pertusa

“I can’t park on the street.”

Mr Saunders is a professional speaker by trade and has had no income since the coronavirus pandemic began and cancelled all his conferences.

“It’s incredibly unfair,” said Mr Saunders.

Former Woodbridge Mayor and local businessman David Mortimer, called the changes a “kick in the guts”.

Station Road car park, Woodbridge.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStation Road car park, Woodbridge. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It’s disappointing,” said Mr Mortimer.

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He said that the parking situation in Woodbridge had become more frustrating.

“They should be looking at encouraging more people in, they are driving people away,” said Mr Mortimer.

Station Road car park, Woodbridge.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStation Road car park, Woodbridge. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport at East Suffolk Council said: “While we understand that people in some locations may be disappointed by price rises for parking, we are entirely clear that our new tariffs are fair and reasonable for car users throughout the whole district and have been brought in with clear consideration for the three million occasions our car parks are used each year.

“We have made pricing simpler, removed a range of hugely different tariff structures and achieve this in a ‘cost neutral’ way which will not raise any additional money for the council but will ensure fairness for all.

“Additionally, we have introduced a range of schemes, such as free half hour parking, expressly designed to increase the number of visitors to our towns and villages and support our local businesses who desperately need a boost at this difficult time.

“Season ticket pricing has previously varied in cost by hundreds of pounds depending on the town or even specific car park used and the new prices ensure drivers will benefit from the same pricing structure regardless of their location.

“As a council seeking to provide the best possible service and value for money for all residents, businesses and communities, it is entirely fair that people should pay the going rate to secure somewhere to park for an entire year. £650 works out at just under £1.80 a day.

“We know that price rises are never welcomed, however we must be entirely clear that our approach to car park charges is driven by fairness and clarity. Some car park users have benefited from prices which cannot be justified, are unfair on other car users and genuinely impact on our ability to deliver services properly.

“These new charges reflect that balance, with every user in mind and not just a few.”

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