Anger over 'shrinking' of town centre car park
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Business and council leaders in an east Suffolk are furious after a town car park shrunk by 30 spaces.
The High Street car park in Leiston has recently been refurbished by East Suffolk Council.
However, since the the work has been done 30 car parking spaces have been erased from the car park.
Wayne Burns, who runs the Leiston Film Theatre said he was frustrated by the changes.
"It affects all the businesses in the town," he said.
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"It's the audacity of East Suffolk Council. There was zero consultation."
Mr Burns said that it had been a busy time for the theatre following the release of the latest James Bond film but that problems with parking were already putting people off coming back.
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"Some people say they won't come again," he said.
Leiston Town Council said it was "angry" about the changes that had been made which it said had been carried out without its consultation.
Writing on Facebook the council said: "Leiston Town Council are extremely upset and angry that 30 car parking spaces have been removed from this car park without any consultation or notification to the Town Council, businesses or residents.
"It is totally unacceptable and we will work hard to find out why this has happened.
"Please be assured Leiston Town Council has written a very strongly worded letter to the Leader of East Suffolk Council insisting that these spaces are reinstated and will not rest until this is resolved."
Norman Brooks, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for transport said: "Following resurfacing works at the High Street car park in Leiston, we had the opportunity to improve the layout of the car park, making it more efficient and safer for all users.
“We recognised that the parking bays were not wide enough for most modern vehicles and as a result, wider bays were put in to meet the growing need for these. Inevitably, that meant that we had to slightly reduce the number of parking spaces available, however, the quality and layout of the car park has been greatly improved and it can now comfortably accommodate larger vehicles.
“Additionally, suitable spaces have also been provided for other road users, such as motorcyclists and cyclists as well as walkways to ensure all users can safely get from and to their vehicles.
“There is of course a fine balance between meeting the demand for wider spaces and maximising the number of spaces available, however, this work was necessary to improve accessibility for modern vehicles and other road users. Previously, the car park was usually less than half full during regulated hours and with other car parks within walking distance, there are plenty of options available during busier times.”