Fight against charges gathers pace

By Patrick LowmanA BREAKAWAY political party is urging the public to join its campaign to stop car parking fees being introduced to a market town.Members of the West Suffolk Independent Alliance took to the streets in Newmarket at the weekend to urge the public to fight against plans to introduce parking fees in the town.

By Patrick Lowman

A BREAKAWAY political party is urging the public to join its campaign to stop car parking fees being introduced to a market town.

Members of the West Suffolk Independent Alliance took to the streets in Newmarket at the weekend to urge the public to fight against plans to introduce parking fees in the town.

The weekend's activities were lead by Terry Mills, who represents the party on Forest Heath District Council.


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Members of the group took to the streets to collect signatures against the plans that are being proposed by Forest Heath District Council.

It also urged members of the community to descend on the Forest Heath council offices tomorrow night, where district councillors will decide whether to go ahead with the parking charges.

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Mr Mills said: "Car parking has always been free in Newmarket and it is why people keep coming here, if fees are introduced it would destroy so much of the trade in the town.

"We have been taking to the streets with loud speakers and collecting signatures and we are urging people to use their democratic voice to get this ridiculous idea thrown out.

"We are also urging people to attend the council meeting on Tuesday to show the members just how unpopular these charges will be.

"I have been speaking to traders and they are devastated about this, there is already a lack of parking spaces in the town and this will just drive more people away to other towns."

Mr Mills also dismisses the argument that the district authority needs to introduce the charges as a source of revenue.

"Last year Forest Heath District Council spent £670,000 on consultant and professional fees for using outside bodies. It should be looking after its own amenities and making decisions itself instead of wasting money by using outside bodies," he added,

The proposed change arises from a parking study carried out by council consultants, and chief executive David Burnip said the charges were necessary to improve the parking situation in the town.

He added: "The council also needs to raise revenue, and in doing so, it must be acknowledged that the current situation actually costs the council money to provide and maintain car parks with no income and we must offset the cost against some of the income."

The recommended charges range from 30p for up to an hour to £2.30 per day. Business have so far given a mixed reaction to the plans.

Some claim it will ruin their trade, while others think it will help solve the current problems with parking in the town, which have been labelled "chaotic."

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