Fears over town's rising parking charges

BUSINESS leaders are so concerned about rising car parking prices in Aldeburgh that they considered paying a traffic consultant to help them keep the town centre vibrant.

By Richard Smith

BUSINESS leaders are so concerned about rising car parking prices in Aldeburgh that they considered paying a traffic consultant to help them keep the town centre vibrant.

But the Aldeburgh Business Association abandoned that idea after it was given a quote of £15,000 and now shopkeepers are considering another action plan to address car parking, which has become a “terribly emotive issue” in the town.

Parking charges will rise by up to 60% on April 1 following a controversial decision taken by Suffolk Coastal District Council.


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There are 240 spaces at Thorpe Road and 80 spaces at Fort Green on the outskirts of the town centre and the district council expects to raise more than £32,000 in the next financial year through parking charges.

There are 27 spaces at Oakley Square and 36 at King Street, in the town centre, and charges were only imposed in those two car parks in 2004-5. Now they are expected to bring in £14,500 in 2006-7.

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In only three years the car parking income from Aldeburgh will have escalated from £16,000 to £47,000, but traders have warned that some shops could lose income because the prices are driving shoppers away.

Peter Watson, chairman of the association, said: “We think car parking could be better managed in Aldeburgh.

“We want it to be looked at in Aldeburgh during a very busy time and if we could get inner car parks for short stay and outside car parks for long term, and if we organise the traffic system for some one-way, then we could release congestion in the summer.

“The High Street gets blocked in the summer with some people staying for up to five hours and the locals can't get in.

“There is a danger Aldeburgh will get too busy and the residents and the tourists will leave because they will not be able to park.

“Oakley Square and King Street are critical. When charges were introduced the district council said it was exceptionally pleased with the revenue generated, but at the same time the association and the public said how empty they were.”

Liz Delaney, the district council's head of services, said £250,000 would be generated by car parking increases in the district and this would be used to cover the costs of expanding a kerbside recycling service.

She added: “The decision to amend the car parking tariff has been taken with considerable reluctance and although it cannot be reversed, the council will consider any specific details of concern.”

A special car parking task group will be set up to allow councillors to have an in-depth review of car parking.

The charges will be: Fort Green and Thorpe Road, up 30p to 80p for four hours; up 50p to £1.50 for more than four hours.

In King Street and Oakley Square, up 10p to 30p for 30 minutes; up 10p to 40p for 30 minutes to an hour; up 30p to 80p for one to two hours; up 30p to £1.50 for two to four hours, and up 50p to £3 for more than four hours.

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