Thumbs down for free parking survey

TOWN councillors have voted down plans to introduce free car parking in their market town after a knife-edge vote.Stowmarket Town Council voted by seven to six not to investigate the possibility of bringing in free parking in the town's Market Place.

TOWN councillors have voted down plans to introduce free car parking in their market town after a knife-edge vote.

Stowmarket Town Council voted by seven to six not to investigate the possibility of bringing in free parking in the town's Market Place.

The move comes after Mid Suffolk District Council imposed large increases in the charges at its car parks in the town in an effort to help plug a £1.57million shortfall in its budget.

Town councillor Keith Myers-Hewitt said he wanted to see the town clerk, Malcolm Baker, investigate the possibility of opening the Market Place for free parking every day except market days, which are held on Thursday and Saturdays.


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And councillor Gordon Paton said: "Stowmarket is a convenience shopping centre, we need to allow people to call in and get the odd items.

"I would not want to see the Market Place covered in cars, but we could put a limited number of spaces there.''

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But town mayor Barry Salmon said the traffic warden could not police the site, as it is not public land, and it could cause extra traffic to come through the town.

Cllr Ron Snell said: "I am dead against this, people will not use it just for shopping. People will park there all day, rows of cars will park there and people will walk down to the station.

"There's nothing to stop us, we own the land. But it will be a hell of a job to police. We should leave it as it is(chained off every day except market days).''

Cllr Duncan Macpherson said he was worried that the site would be abused by people who are not shopping in the town.

During the town council meeting, in Milton Road South on Wednesday night, councillors also discussed other road issues, including major changes to Stowmarket roads. Suffolk County Council is currently seeking views on a sting of suggestions for Ipswich Road, Ipswich Street, Bury Street, Combs Ford and Needham Road.

These include reversing the one-way system through the town centre on Ipswich Street and Bury Street, reversing the one-way system in Combs Ford, closing Boulters Bridge in Combs Ford and introducing traffic calming measures.

The county council suggestions, many of which town councillors felt unable to support, go on show during a public exhibition before any final decisions are made on altering the road system.

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