Traders hit by rise in parking charges

TOWN councillors were told last nightthat some of its market traders are losing up to £100 in takings a day, because increased car parking charges are deterring shoppers.

TOWN councillors were told last nightthat some of its market traders are losing up to £100 in takings a day, because increased car parking charges are deterring shoppers.

Stowmarket Town Council's market officer Neville Tyealso fears the authority will lose £7,000 revenue in a year from market traders as many quit, and is trying to recruit new stallholders.

Mr Tye blames the situation partly on Mid Suffolk District Council, which agreed rises in parking charges from April as it dealt with a £1.57million budget shortfall.

Last night, at a town council meeting, Mr Tye presented a report to councillors covering the market activities for last month.


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Mr Tye said: "The introduction of increased parking tariffs has impacted on stall holders takings. Since their introduction, it is noticeable that fewer people are now passing through our town and market area.

"On Thursday 13th May 2004 at 2pm, a market day, photographs were taken of both our market and Ipswich Street areas and it clearly shows the lack of people now shopping in our town. The refreshment van has reported a reduction in takings of £100 per day on both Thursdays and Saturdays."

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District council leader Roger Saunders, who regrets the loss of market traders, believes the town council must share responsibility after increasing the pitch rents.

But town councillor Marilyn Finbow: "It's not just the market traders feeling the pinch, some shops in the town are too."

Town mayor Gordon Paton said: "It's still cheap to park in this town, compare it with Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. Stowmarket is a good place to shop, it's convenient. Let's be realistic, motoring is not cheap these days."

Councillors voted to pass their comments to the district council and ask an officer to come to the town council and discuss the effects the rises were having on the town.

A new farmers' market held in the Medieval barn at the town's Museum of East Anglian Life attracted 800 people and 16 traders earlier this monthfor the first ever event. The next event is on June 4.

The meeting also heard that discussions are at an early stage to bring a French market to Stowmarket and Mr Tye has met with officers from Thetford and Diss town councils, in the hope that a combined effort can be made to bring a French market to the three towns.

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