Pay on exit car parking to be trialled in town centre
PUBLISHED: 10:57 07 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:39 17 May 2019
Pay on exit car parking designed to give shoppers and visitors greater flexibility will be piloted in Bury St Edmunds from next month.
The trial, called Flexi-Park, will begin on June 10 in St Andrews Street car park and people will pay £1 an hour the first six hours, before a whole day charge of £10.
For people staying at the car park overnight, a £1 evening charge will apply from 6pm.
West Suffolk Council says that should the pilot prove successful, then the authority will look to roll Flexi-Park out in other car parks across the area.
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Mark Walsh, West Suffolk Council's assistant director for operations, said: "Bury St Edmunds is a visitor destination with people coming not just to shop, but to enjoy heritage, leisure and cultural attractions including the Abbey Gardens, Cathedral, The Apex, Theatre Royal, cafes, restaurants and more.
"Flexi-Park gives town centre visitors greater choice about how long they park for."
Mr Walsh added that the scheme is aiming to encourage people to shop local and visit the town centre.
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"The pilot scheme is being introduced partly in response to concerns raised by businesses through the Business improvement District OurBuryStEdmunds that they are missing out on trade due to visitors hurrying back to their cars before their ticket expires. Flexi-Park overcomes this," he added.
"We can't control whether somebody chooses to visit a shop to buy an item as opposed to ordering it online, but we can seek to encourage people to shop local, visit the town centre more often and spend more through providing the option of staying longer in our more convenient car parks."
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The scheme is cashless which means that people are not restricted by how much change they have in their pocket.
The council says cashless payments also have significant cost and operational benefits to the authority by freeing up staff time for greater enforcement, eventually including civil parking enforcement, which supports local residents and businesses.
The car park is currently split into long and short stay parking and the long stay spaces (all day for £3) will not be affected by the trial, and will remain accessible as long stay spaces.
It is the 350 short stay spaces (currently maximum stay is only three hours) that people will be able to stay in for as long as they wish and then pay accordingly before they leave the car park.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: "On behalf of our members, the BID has been lobbying for a number of years for a pay on exit offer to be available in the town centre.
"We are absolutely delighted that West Suffolk Council have agreed to run a trial scheme. We want visitors to the town to able to be flexible regarding how long they stay parked in the town centre and this new scheme provides this opportunity.
"Our members believe this flexibility will enable visitors to their businesses to stay longer in the town and I am hopeful that this car park will be very busy during the trial period."