Parking charges U-turn

VISITORS to two popular Suffolk towns will enjoy cheaper car parking next year after council bosses agreed to reduce charges.Suffolk Coastal District Council will introduce a new rate of 40p for anyone wishing to stay for one hour or less in certain car parks in Woodbridge and Felixstowe.

VISITORS to two popular Suffolk towns will enjoy cheaper car parking next year after council bosses agreed to reduce charges.

Suffolk Coastal District Council will introduce a new rate of 40p for anyone wishing to stay for one hour or less in certain car parks in Woodbridge and Felixstowe.

In April the fee was increased from 40p to 70p for a stay of up to two hours - but after calls from members of the public it has now been reduced.

The new charges will apply to car parks by Woodridge station, the community hall, Deben Swimming Pool and The Avenue as well as at Felixstowe Leisure Centre.


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Andy Smith, deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal and chairman of the car park task group, said: “We have agreed to introduce this new rate following requests from users of these community facilities who were unhappy about paying 70p or 80p when they were only parking for less than an hour.

“From April, anyone using the three Woodbridge car parks for an hour will be paying exactly what they were in 2005, and in Felixstowe it will actually be 10p cheaper than it used to be.

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“We did consult widely when the price changes were introduced earlier this year, but no-one really predicted the problems that have occurred.

“Now they have been brought to our attention, I am pleased we are able to adapt our pricing policy to meet public demand.”

Car park charges were increased in April as part of a district-wide review but traders raised concerns that shoppers would be driven away to out of town superstores and other centres because of the hike.

It was thought the rises would have little affect as none of the Woodbridge car parks are designed for short-stays, as the main areas for shoppers are around the Hamblin Road car parks.

But visitors to the regular indoor markets held at the community hall have dropped following the increase.

Mr Smith said: “I can understand why those who are using them for less than an hour have been put off by the current charge.

“Unfortunately we cannot introduce this change straightaway, but, come April 1, I can promise those people using these four car parks that it will not be an April's Fool prank that they can park for the same price they were paying a couple of years ago.”

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