Fall in shoppers due to car park charges

TRADERS are being asked to examine their accounts to see if controversial car parking charges have led to a cut back in business in their village.

Richard Smith

TRADERS are being asked to examine their accounts to see if controversial car parking charges have led to a cut back in business in their village.

The new charges were introduced by Suffolk Coastal District Council in Wickham Market, near Woodbridge, in April despite a vociferous campaign against their imposition.

The result, claim villagers and shopkeepers, is that one car park is now underused, there have been fewer shoppers and drivers now park in side roads.


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There is also concern that the village, known for a friendly and charming old fashioned way of life, has lost some of its appeal because people are worried about the charges and no longer use shopping as a social experience.

Now the parish council has called an Extraordinary Meeting for July 1 at 7.30pm in the village hall to assess the impact of the charges.

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Cath Caudwell, parish council clerk, has written to businesses on The Hill, in Riverside View and to the medical centre to ask for their attendance.

She said: “The meeting will focus purely on the impact the car park charges have had, and future actions that the community and parish council feel are needed to protect the vitality and viability of Wickham Market.

“To enable action of any sort to be taken the parish council needs the support of local businesses.”

Traders are being asked to give evidence of the percentage decrease, or increase, in takings for comparative months for April, May and June in 2008 and 2007.

They are also urged to give observations on changes in the habits of customers' shopping trips.

The parish council believes the facts are vital because this will give them proof when they tackle the district council over the future of car parking in Wickham Market.

Parish councillors would like the management of the car parks to be transferred to their council.

Suffolk Coastal says the charges were needed to ensure there was a fair parking policy across the district, and the pricing structure produced a more efficient use of spaces.

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