Warning over parking charges

COUNCILLORS have decided that car-parking charges may have to be introduced or increased in three towns in order to fund a cash-strapped council.Members of the car parking task group on Suffolk Coastal District Council met last night to discuss the controversial issue.

COUNCILLORS have decided that car-parking charges may have to be introduced or increased in three towns in order to fund a cash-strapped council.

Members of the car parking task group on Suffolk Coastal District Council met last night to discuss the controversial issue.

At the moment, 16 of the council's 44 car parks are free but councillors have accepted that charges may need to be introduced at parks in Aldeburgh, Felixstowe and Woodbridge.

Other proposals include imposing year-round charges at three car parks in Aldeburgh and four in Felixstowe, where drivers currently only pay during the summer.


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Andy Smith, council deputy leader and chairman of the car parking task group, said details of the parks where charges will be changed have yet to be decided.

He added: "The decision we made in principle at the meeting is to recommend to the cabinet that we change our policy, within limits, for more flexibility on car parking charges than we've got at the moment.

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"We have had to recognise that we are getting such little funding from the Government that, unfortunately, we face finding other ways of raising money.

"All of the details of which car parks and how much charges will increase by will be for the next round of meetings in November."

Mr Smith said that he accepts the decision will be met with scorn by some parts of the community, but stressed the council did not reach the decision lightly.

"The point I would like to get across is that we are having to do this simply because of the more than limited funding that we are getting from the Government," he added.

"The council is committed to not cutting services and keeping tax down – this is a decision that we have to make reluctantly.

"Of course there will be a backlash because people do not like increases, but all I can say is that our charges are very low in relation to other places.

"We will keep the increased charges to a minimum."

The proposals will go before the council's cabinet on November 4.

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