Sunday parking fee plan criticised
TRADERS and businesses have hit out at “destructive” proposals to charge for parking on Sundays.Shopkeepers in Bury St Edmunds are incensed at St Edmundsbury Borough Council's proposals, which they believe will cripple business at a time when parking spaces are under threat from the construction of a multi-million pound shopping centre, due to start later this year.
TRADERS and businesses have hit out at “destructive” proposals to charge for parking on Sundays.
Shopkeepers in Bury St Edmunds are incensed at St Edmundsbury Borough Council's proposals, which they believe will cripple business at a time when parking spaces are under threat from the construction of a multi-million pound shopping centre, due to start later this year.
The Bury Chamber of Commerce had already expressed its reservations at the council plan to manage parking and traffic during the construction of the controversial £100million Cattle Market redevelopment.
And bosses said the latest proposals were “bad timing and bad judgement” and reacted angrily to proposals to increase charges by between 10p and 20p during the week.
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However, the council defended the plans, which it claimed would stop visitors to the town parking “dangerously” thanks to the presence of traffic wardens who will be funded by the extra revenue.
A spokesman for the council said: “One reason we are looking at Sunday parking charges is because we are aware there is a problem caused by people parking dangerously in some areas.
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“However, no decision has been made on parking charges. It is being considered as part of the budget for 2006 - 2007.”
Ruth Brady, of the chamber, said: “Traders in Bury are facing the added challenge of the imminent and lengthy disruption of the building phase of the Cattle Market development.
“Meanwhile the borough council seem determined to create as much disincentive as possible to coming into the town.”
Chrissy Harrod, chamber president, described the proposals as “madness” and particularly damaging to the town's business prospects: “At this time when they are planning to close the biggest car park (to the rear of Woolworths) for the redevelopment - it is very destructive.”
“We feel very strongly about this - it is totally the wrong time.”
Independent councillor David Nettleton, who was more concerned by the proposed overall price hike, said: “There is a desperate need for parking supervision on Sundays and that can only come about if the borough council charges the cost of the service to the users.
“At times these areas resemble a wild west town and I can think of no bigger disincentive to first-time visitors to Bury than the current shambles in town centre parking on Sundays.”
Alan Jary, owner of the Jaycraft shop in St John Street in Bury, who echoed the comments of some other shopkeepers in the town centre, said: “What have they got against the car? It is seems to be all part of a council plan to close the town centre.
“They are reducing the amount of parking and now they are increasing the prices - what more can they do?”
But Paul Marchant, of Marchant's cookware in St John Street, said he was in favour of parking charges because it was mostly large retail chains, which opened for business on Sundays. He said he was pragmatic about the price rise.