Stowmarket: Proposed parking changes welcomed by town mayor as motorists set to save £200 a year

Car parking charges could fall

Car parking charges could fall

A MAYOR has welcomed proposed car parking changes as she said they would boost the town’s economy.

Mid Suffolk District Council’s executive will debate changes to parking in Stowmarket which would see a £200 drop to the cost of a season ticket.

Shoppers can currently park for 90 minutes in Asda and Morrisons car parks for £1. The proposals would extend the time to two hours. Season tickets are currently £500.

Town mayor Anne Whybrow said: “We have been banging about this for ages. These changes would make a great deal of difference to people. I think it will bring more people in. With an hour and a half people may just do their main supermarket shop.

“That extra bit of time will give them that little bit longer. It should be a help. If you come once a week to do your shopping, if you park at Asda or Morrisons you get your money back when you do your shopping.

“Two hours will give you more chance to pop into town and have a cup of coffee. Free parking would be ideal for a small market town. It would give us more chance to compete with the likes of Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.

“We almost have free parking in Stowmarket anyway. But it’s Mid Suffolk that decides the charges. I’m not a Mid Suffolk councillor, but I understand that part of the car parking revenue goes to providing services for us.”

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Roy Barker, Mid Suffolk’s environment portfolio holder said: “We want to make Stowmarket a better visit for shoppers into the town. That’s why we have increased the time so people can stay longer.

“Most people who are visiting anyway get parking free of charge because of the refund by Morrisons and Asda.

“We are dropping the season ticket cost to get more cars off the residential parking areas and into the town car parks.

“We looked at free parking but it would be so awkward to police. It would have been difficult to tell how long people had been parked for.”

Sharon Brown is town centre manager for Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership.

She said: “The changes would be welcomed, but how many people want a season ticket? Over the year it works out cheaper, but what we would like to see is free parking.

“I do not think the proposals go far enough. We do work closely with Mid Suffolk and they support the town centre partnership, but I would like to see a bit more.”

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