Poll: Parking charge increase concerns in Hadleigh and Sudbury

A PARKING price hike could see already overcrowded residential streets become even busier, officials warned last night.

Signs have been placed on ticket machines in Hadleigh and Sudbury announcing the price of parking for more than three hours will rise from �1.50 to �2 from October.

Babergh District Council hopes to raise an extra �25,000 a year from the increase, but town council officers and business leaders say motorists will not pay the fee and will look for “free” alternatives.

Hadleigh town clerk, Carol Bailey, said she had met Suffolk County Council highways chiefs yesterday to discuss the town’s parking problems, which she could only see worsening as a result of the increase.

She added: “The 50p they are adding to the long stay charge represents a 33% increase which is way above the rate of inflation, and if someone is working in the town five days a week for the minimum wage, it will hit them hard. “When Babergh brought in long term charges, it just forced people into the streets and in the mornings here, it’s a battle with motorists trying to find parking spaces in the street to avoid paying. The long-term car parks by contrast are virtually empty.”

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Sudbury town clerk, Sue Brotherwood said that situation was mirrored in Sudbury adding: “People already park in every road they can find to avoid paying so the increase is only going to exacerbate the situation.”

A Babergh spokesperson said the decision to increase long stay car parking fees was taken following the authority’s annual review of fees and charges. She added: “This decision was in direct relation to the financial situation faced by Babergh District Council in these economically-challenging times.

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“In light of reductions in funding from central Government, Babergh had to look at possible revenue generating options. It was predicted that increasing the fee from �1.50 to �2 will achieve �25k additional income per annum.”

Vice chairman of Sudbury chamber of commerce, Chris Storey, who is part of a parking group set up to establish an alternative management plan for car parks in Sudbury, Hadleigh and Lavenham, said while he understood the district council was facing “significant financial pressures”, he feared the increase would hit low-paid workers in the town.

He added: “We are in a tough economic environment and I realise Babergh has had to make some adjustments in their budget, but we are not happy about the increase because it will put a strain on people working in the town and will increase pressure on street parking.”

“Our priority now is to keep three-hour parking free and to look for a long term solution.”

Babergh reviews its fees and charges every year, and this process is due to recommence in November. There is no current policy to introduce short stay parking charges.

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