Concern over new online parking permits set to be rolled out across town

Cemetery Road, Ipswich, which is one of the areas affected by the new permit system. Picture: SARAH

Cemetery Road, Ipswich, which is one of the areas affected by the new permit system. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A new system of residents’ parking permits is being launched in Ipswich from next month – prompting fears that some households could struggle with the technology needed to operate it.

Inga Lockington. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Inga Lockington. Picture: SU ANDERSON

New MiPermit accounts are being set up for residents that encourage people to pay and manage their parking online.

There will no longer be paper permits – car registrations will be logged with Ipswich Borough Council and its parking staff will be able to check whether a vehicle has a permit.

The change will affect around 1,100 Ipswich residents, with the new system to start being rolled out at the start of April.

The first part of the town to get the new system is the Cemetery Road/Christchurch Street area and letters have recently been sent out to residents.

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However local councillor Inga Lockington feels many people are unaware of the changes – and could face problems if they have to rely on new technology to register and renew their permit.

She said: “What will happen to people who don’t have access to e-mail or the internet? If people end up relying on their mobile phones then that could be difficult because the signal is not that good for some phones in that part of the town.” She was also concerned about security implications: “If people see a car they don’t recognise they can see whether it has a parking permit – they won’t have that any more.”

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There are also worries that the new system will make it difficult for people visiting residents, as registration numbers of vehicles will need to be known in advance.

One Cemetery Road resident, who asked not to be named, said when he was expecting visitors he would move his car away from the area and lend them his permit to allow them to park. “We won’t be able to do that any more,” he said.

A spokesman for the borough council said the new system had already been used successfully in other towns, including Colchester and Clacton. “It is very simple, it only takes a few minutes online, but if people cannot do that they can ring the number on the letter we have sent and register online,” he said. “It’s more secure, because if people move home the permit stops automatically – it cannot be passed on to other people or duplicated if it is lost. Currently there are more permits than spaces.”

The cost of a permit is going up from £35 to £40 a year and £70 per car for further permits.

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