Setback in fight against parking charges

A BID to prevent a cash-strapped council introducing car parking charges in two Suffolk towns looks set to fail.

Russell Claydon

A BID to prevent a cash-strapped council introducing car parking charges in two Suffolk towns looks set to fail.

Finance chiefs have recommended councillors reject a proposal by Sudbury Town Council to take over the running of Babergh-owned car parks across three communities.

If it went ahead it would have overturned a possible implementation of car parking charges in Sudbury and Hadleigh, while the proposals for Lavenham look set to be shelved.


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The move is part of a drive to fill a �1.6 million black hole in Babergh District Council's budget for 2010/2011 with staff redundancies amongst other options on the table.

Councillors had presented the offer of a reprieve from parking charges by asking the towns and parish council involved to put forward a case for taking over the running of the car parks.

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Sudbury put a case forward for a 10-year partnership scheme covering all three areas but officers have recommended councillors reject it at next Tuesday's Strategy meeting. The bid involves increasing council tax and charging for some resident car parks.

Sue Brotherwood, clerk of Sudbury Town Council, still remained hopeful that councillors could rally behind the plans.

She said: “We put in a bid and we are hopeful that council members will give it full consideration.”

Of car parking charges in Sudbury she said: “The general view is it would be to the detriment of the town.”

The Strategic Financial Planning Task Group has reported Sudbury Town Council's proposal is not viable for “financial, legal, operational and asset management reasons”.

In the report, authored by Mike Hammond Babergh's deputy chief executive, it says: “In analysing the figures further, the director of finance advises that Sudbury has miscalculated the anticipated savings to Babergh by not properly apportioning the income from parking ticket charges of �44,528.

“This means that Babergh District Council's anticipated savings, based on Sudbury's figures, would reduce from �155,424 to �110,896 in a full year. This compares to net income which would be generated by Babergh District Council of introducing long stay car parking charges (for Sudbury and Hadleigh only) of approximately �200,000 each year in a full year.”

Lavenham was originally included in the car parking charges but now looks set to avoid them due to a third party having responsibility for the Babergh car park at The Cock.

If councillors send through the task groups proposals there will still be a number of stages before the final budget decision is taken by the full council on February 23.

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