Parking charge rises 'inappropriate'

PARKING charge hikes planned for west Suffolk have been branded “inappropriate” by a leading councillor.A scrutiny group at St Edmundsbury Borough Council will now investigate a decision by the council's transport cabinet member Terry Clements to increase parking costs in both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill.

PARKING charge hikes planned for west Suffolk have been branded “inappropriate” by a leading councillor.

A scrutiny group at St Edmundsbury Borough Council will now investigate a decision by the council's transport cabinet member Terry Clements to increase parking costs in both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill. The new charges will see the cost of some stays rising by as much as 40p.

But the proposals have been criticised by St Olaves ward councillor Sheila Wormleighton who has asked for the matter to be investigated in detail under what the council's calls the “call-in” procedure.

She said: “I called it in because the decision to increase car parking charges has been taken to gain revenue.


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“We feel it is detrimental to what the borough is trying to achieve.

“Something like parking, which is always a contentious issue, should be consulted with the public.

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“Some traders are saying people will say they are not going to come back if the charges are increased.”

If the plans are put forward after the review they will come into effect in Haverhill in February and in Bury in April.

Mrs Wormleighton added that the proposals were inappropriate at a time when Bury is dealing with ongoing disruption from the Cattle Market development and when Haverhill is looking to revamp the high street.

She said: “In the wake of disruption in Bury and in Haverhill where we have a big push on redevelopment - to change the car parking charges would be counterproductive. It is not how the borough should be doing things.”

In the call-in notice Mrs Wormleighton said there had been no account taken of the possible effect on the retailers and other businesses and no information about how the increases would affect people visiting the towns.

She also said there was no consultation or information about how the economic development could be affected by the increase in charges.

Bury St Edmunds shoppers have faced a loss of car parking spaces in the town with the current Cattle Market development, which has angered residents in recent weeks.

A spokeswoman for St Edmunsbury Borough Council said they were not able to comment on the call-in, as it was part of procedure.

The call-in will be considered by the committee at its next ordinary meeting on January 24.

A SNAPSHOT of the parking charge increases planned for April 2007:

Weekday costs at Bury's Parkway surface car park and Ram Meadow will rise from £1.20 to £1.40 for a stay of more than four hours

A rise from £1 to £1.40 for more than four hours at Bury's Parkway multi-storey

A rise from £1.20 to £1.40 for more than four hours at the Ehringhausen Way car park in Haverhill

Sunday prices will remain unchanged.

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