Short-stay parking 'threat' to traders

BUSINESS leaders have reacted with dismay to plans to increase short stay parking at the controversial £100million shopping centre.

Will Clarke

BUSINESS leaders have reacted with dismay to plans to increase short stay parking at the controversial £100million shopping centre.

Traders in Bury St Edmunds fear that shoppers will avoid walking into the town centre if parking at the controversial Arc development is restricted to short stay, with fewer long stay spaces available.

Currently the town benefits from a 600 space long-stay multi-storey car park off Parkway costing drivers £1.20 a day.


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But Centros, the developers behind the Arc, have suggested to St Edmundsbury Borough Council to change those spaces from long-stay to short-stay - similar to those nearer their site costing 60p an hour.

Bury's business leaders yesterday reacted with dismay at the move but pointed out the suggestion was a long way from being granted.

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Steve Peters, town centre manager, said: “We would be opposed to this.

“We need a percentage of long stay spaces for business in the town and for day visitors, and the numbers work well at the moment.”

A spokeswoman for the Bury Chamber of Commerce said: “We understand a request has been made. I am not surprised it has been made but we wouldn't welcome this at all.

“This is a commercial enterprise and they want to make everything advantageous to themselves. But I am sure it is unlikely their wish will be granted. We understand the council has not responded.”

Terry Clements, St Edmundsbury portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “We receive suggestions and requests about our car parks all the time.

“Our priority is keeping a good balance between short and long stay provision and we assess each request in that context.

“As part of our commercial relationship with the developers of the cattle market site, we have many ongoing discussions which are not made public because they never result in concrete proposals. If recommendations are brought forward as a result of those discussions, they will then become public.”

As well as the shops and homes the Arc, which is set to open in the spring, will also include its own 850 space car park and a £17 million public venue paid for by St Edmundsbury.

A spokesman for Centros confirmed they had suggested extending short stay spaces into the multi storey car park but denied that it was something they had actively requested.

He said: “We were asked a question about car parking by the council and (we) made suggestion - no more than that.

“It wasn't something we proactively asked the council - we were simply responding to them.

“This (suggestion) was one of a number of options…it is not something we are promoting. We have sufficient parking - it was something set out from day one.”

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