Town's anger at parking fee threat

A PETITION containing nearly 500 signatures is to be handed to a district council calling for a halt to “disastrous” plans to introduce charges on a town's car parks.

By David Green

A PETITION containing nearly 500 signatures is to be handed to a district council calling for a halt to “disastrous” plans to introduce charges on a town's car parks.

Mid Suffolk District Council is considering whether to convert two “free” car parks at Eye into pay-and-display areas in order to help solve a £1.5 million financial shortfall.

However, traders at Eye already having to fight competition from supermarkets in the area say the move will only encourage shoppers to go elsewhere.


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“There are double and single lines all over Eye and people have no alternative but to use the car parks.

“If they have to start paying they may well go to Diss and other places where they can park for free,” said Colin Ribchester, manager of the Forbuoys newsagency in Church Street.

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He said he had agreed to a suggestion from local pharmacist and former town councillor, George Maynard, that a petition be placed on the shop's counter.

“More people come in here and it was thought to be the best place for it,” Mr Ribchester said.

The petition was signed by local residents and traders as well as visitors from villages throughout the area.

Peter Hawkins, a former town councillor and now in charge of a project to revitalise the town hall, said the introduction of charges could be “disastrous” for Eye.

“According to the survey we did for the regeneration project about 26% of people living in the town do not have a car and rely on local shops.

If the shops were to close because people with cars were going elsewhere there would be a lot of hardship,” he said.

Mr Hawkins said he was writing to every member of the district council's executive committee warning them of the possible impact of introducing car parking charges.

“I want them all to realise what a disadvantage this will be for the economy of the town,” he added.

Charles Flatman, local district councillor, has told the town council that district officials were still not certain whether income from the car parking charges would be in excess of the cost of installing meters and operating the system.

The financial implications were still being considered and were due to be discussed by the executive committee on February 6, he said.

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