Sudbury/Hadleigh: Babergh’s plan for towns’ car parks

Sudbury Town Council staff Jacqui Howells and Sue Brotherwood in North Street car park, which could

Sudbury Town Council staff Jacqui Howells and Sue Brotherwood in North Street car park, which could eventually have long term parking options added.

Car parks in the Babergh District Council area are to remain under the local authority’s control for the foreseeable future.

A group set up last year, with the aim of taking over management of car parks in Sudbury and Hadleigh to stave off short term parking fees, looked into the viability of various schemes and reported back to the council.

But now Babergh has conducted its own comprehensive review of the way its car parks are operated, and has decided not to relinquish control.

It wants the future of car parks to be considered alongside other parking issues, such as permit parking schemes. Currently, parking for the first three hours in both towns is free, but motorists pay £2 to park for up to 24 hours. According to a spokesman, the council is now considering introducing both long and short term parking options in all of its car parks.

Automatic number plate recognition could be used instead of free short term tickets, and excess charging notices would only be issued to those who “genuinely” abuse the system. The moves are also desigend to reduce back office and warden costs.

Parking group member Chris Storey said: “I think our review threw up information that showed Babergh how it could run its own car parks more cost effectively. It seems there is support from councillors to retain free parking, so the need for us to put in alternative structures has lessened. Our proposal was always to keep short term parking free and make sure it’s managed for the benefit of the community.”

Hadleigh mayor Brian Lazenby said the parking dialogue needed to be ongoing, adding: “Part of this wider discussion will need to include the subsidy that is currently provided to support free short term parking, and where this sits against other competing priorities.”