New parking charges branded a ‘tax on workers’

WITH just days to go before controversial parking charges are introduced in west Suffolk, business and town leaders are accusing a council of failing to adequately inform the public.

Cash-strapped Babergh District Council has spent �47,000 on new ticket machines and will be charging workers in Sudbury and Hadleigh �1.50 a day from Monday if they park in town centre car parks for more than three hours.

The unpopular move has angered business leaders who say the charges will affect trade, tax staff and have not been communicated adequately.

David Holland, owner of Curtain Craft in King Street, said: “Let’s be clear on this – Sudbury workers are being taxed again by Babergh.

“It may not sound like a lot but someone on eight pounds an hour will have to work 11 days per year just to pay to park when they come into work.

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“Babergh’s introduction of the last ticket machines was a fiasco as they did not publicise it properly and they have clearly not learnt anything when it comes to communication.’’

John Sayers, a Sudbury town and county councillor, said the town’s unique selling point of free parking was now over.

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“I really fear this will just be the start of the ticket prices. It will be difficult for workers in shops to now find another �40 a month to pay for this and I’m quite sure we will see people clogging up roads around town to try and avoid these steep charges,” he added.

Despite the criticism a spokesman from Babergh said the council refuted any allegations it had not publicised the new parking regime properly, insisting it had included newspapers, posters, and leaflets in local press and magazines delivered to people’s homes.

He said: “It is still free to park for three hours in Babergh’s long-term car parks in Hadleigh and Sudbury – only those who wish to stay over that time limit have to pay. Workers on low incomes were offered the chance to buy a parking permit to enable them to park at a reduced cost. Unfortunately, only half of the 133 permits on offer were applied for.”

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