Fury at car parking charges plan
By John HowardMOTORISTS could face parking fees of up to £2 a stay if a decision is undertaken to introduce charges in three towns and villages.The move is being considered by Mid Suffolk District Council as it tries to plug a £1.
By John Howard
MOTORISTS could face parking fees of up to £2 a stay if a decision is undertaken to introduce charges in three towns and villages.
The move is being considered by Mid Suffolk District Council as it tries to plug a £1.5million gap in its budget.
Councillors are considering introducing pay-and-display charges in Needham Market, Eye and Debenham, with fees ranging from 30p to £2 depending on the length of stay.
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The charges would be brought in from April in Needham Market in Hurstlea Road, High Street, Station Yard and the popular Needham Lake tourist attraction.
Cross Street and Buckshorn Lane, both in Eye, and Cross Green in Debenham would also be affected.
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The council is trying to find ways of tackling a budget deficit next year of about £1.57m, following a lower-than-hoped-for grant from the Government.
As well as the proposed car parking charges, it is looking at a Council Tax rise of 6%, double the amount they had first hoped for.
The council is also considering axing 30 jobs, freezing councillors' allowances and reducing travelling allowances to help find the £1.57m.
Pat Bellay, a member of the Needham Market Luncheon Club for the business community, said introducing charges in High Street would harm traders.
“This is mad, will affect trade, this is crazy. Doing it in the High Street will be a killer. They will consult us and then ignore us,” he added.
But council leader, Roger Saunders, said: “We have not done this with a glad or happy heart, I can assure you of that.
“But we have to look at all angles for finding this £1.5m. We are spreading the unpleasantness around so no one group bears the whole lot.”
He added: “I know this will be very unpopular and I will top no-one's popularity poll, but we have had to grasp this, there is no money left in the reserves to soften the blow.
“The council has been living beyond its means and we have drawn the short straw of trying to draw us back to an even keel.”
The council's executive committee will discuss the proposed car parking charges on January 5.