Parking shake up could see charge increases across West Suffolk
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Parking charges are due for a shake up in West Suffolk as councillors discuss plans to increase the cost of tickets in a bid to raise £300,000 extra cash.
Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at West Suffolk Council will discuss recommendations set out in a report which reviews the local parking trends across the district.
The report, published by West Suffolk Parking Review Group, sets out a number of recommendations, including increasing the price of parking in Haverhill and Newmarket and scrapping the 'Free from 3' scheme in Bury St Edmunds.
The "popular" free parking scheme allows those heading to Bury town centre to park on council owned car parks for free after 3pm on Tuesdays.
West Suffolk District Councillor for Tollgate, David Nettleton, who led the review group has said: "People don't come to our town centres for the parking - their decision to come to town is for a purpose or experience.
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"All income from parking goes back into supporting not just the running of the car parks, but other related services to ensure our town centres continue to be clean and safe places that people want to visit.
"We invest significantly in the upkeep and management of our car parks.
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"While these costs have all risen, the Council has not increased tariffs for up to eight years in some of our car parks.
"It's also really important that we recognise that car parks are only one mode of travel and where possible we encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport as a way of better managing the increasing congestion on our roads.
"Air quality is an equally important consideration."
Not all councillors agree however.
Cliff Waterman, Labour Councillor for Eastgate said that the shake up "does not make sense" and that it will hurt businesses within Bury St Edmunds.
"The Free from 3 parking is very popular in Bury," he said.
"I like to walk or cycle into town but I use it myself if I need to pick something up.
"The charges will mean that people will jump in their cars and drive outside of town to go to places with free parking instead. This will mean that there will be more cars on the roads and less business in the town centre.
"There needs to be more investment in public transport so that those who cannot afford to drive have a more cost effective and environmentally friendly way to get into Bury."