Parking fees shake-up criticised
MOVES to increase parking charge by up to 90% in a west Suffolk town will hit pensioners the hardest, it was warned last night.St Edmundsbury Borough Council is gearing up to turn the 370-space Prospect Row car park in the centre of Bury into a short stay facility and to increase the cost of using it for those wanting to stay there for more than two hours.
MOVES to increase parking charge by up to 90% in a west Suffolk town will hit pensioners the hardest, it was warned last night.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council is gearing up to turn the 370-space Prospect Row car park in the centre of Bury into a short stay facility and to increase the cost of using it for those wanting to stay there for more than two hours.
But the town's chamber of commerce warned yesterday that the changes - which are tied into the £105 million Cattle Market retail development - could hit the elderly.
The council, however, defended the move by pointing out that Prospect Row would be cheaper to use for short trips into town.
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Parking charges at the nearby Parkway multi-storey will remain the same at £1 a day when the new Prospect Row fees come into effect on October 1.
Chrissy Harrod, president of the Bury Chamber of Commerce, said: “Parking and good access to the town is obviously key to ensuring visitors and customers are happy and enjoy the experience.
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“We were expecting these car parking charges to rise. We did suggest it might not be quite be the right time to do it.
“We've got to recognise that we have got older people to look after and not all of them have a disabled badge.
“I have always feared for the elderly and those with children as to whether they really want to be walking back to (the multi-storey in) Parkway. It is a fair walk. I think people should be allowed to keep their options open.”
But Mrs Harrod also said that compared with other towns, parking costs in Bury offered good value for money.
A borough council spokeswoman said: “Research shows that most visitors to town spend less than four hours here so we don't anticipate any inconvenience to visitors.
“Those who stay in town all day, usually those who work here, will need to park a few yards further away in the multi-storey, where they can park for just £1.”
On Monday, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays the price of parking will change from £1.40 for up to ten hours to £1.10 for one hour, £1.60 for two, £2.10 for three and £2.60 for a maximum of four hours.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, prices will change from the current £1.40 for up to two hours and £2 for more than two hours to £1.10 for one hour, £1.60 for two, £2.10 for three and £2.60 for a maximum of four hours.