Free Parking – An update

One hour free parking – important changes in the town in the near future

As many of you will know the cost of free parking for April 2019 to March 2020 in the Thoroughfare car park had risen to £34k and it was at this point that the Town Council knew it had to find another solution. This was simply not sustainable or justifiable for either the Council or the many voluntary contributors.

The proposed solution is to change the free parking from the Thoroughfare car park to four other car parks; Angel Link North, Angel Link South, Post Office and Station Rd. So in effect, all car parks will have free one hour parking except the Thoroughfare. The cost of this alternative free parking solution has been provisionally agreed at £15k. Furthermore this would be fixed for a period of 4 years subject to RPI increases. If the new East Suffolk Council were to make free first hour parking available across the district, as they currently have in Suffolk Coastal, the agreement would end.

These are the key points;

  • The Town will have more free parking spaces.
  • The cost can be managed since the costs are lower and fixed for a four year period.
  • Visitors and shoppers have several different options of where to park in the town. It is hoped that some areas such as the Market Place may also see an increase in footfall.
  • The Thoroughfare car park should become more accessible and easier to find spaces for all those who don’t mind paying in order to be a little closer to the Town.
  • The Station car park will have tariffs changed to provide longer stay options for those travelling by train.
  • As this is an entirely new approach it is not known what impact it will have on footfall and businesses but the alternative was no longer sustainable and the Town would have ended up with no free parking.
  • The Town Council recognises that it is very important to get the message out to direct drivers to the car parks with free parking. The Angel Link North (the largest car park just off Saxons Way) is likely to be first choice for the majority of drivers. This has roughly the same amount of spaces as the Thoroughfare and the smaller car park (Angel Link South) is immediately opposite.
  • The Station and Post Office car parks are much smaller but it is hoped they may be useful for anyone using the businesses in Quay Street, New Cut and the North end of Town.
  • It may be a little further to walk from these alternative car parks but only if your destination is the very centre of the Thoroughfare.
  • The Council had tried to retain free one hour parking in the Blue Badge spaces and also to have some half hour free parking slots in the Thoroughfare car park, but unfortunately this has not been accepted as part of the proposal at this stage.
  • The Council will make a formal request for contributions from businesses and parishes to help fund the free parking in due course.

Please note the Thoroughfare car park will continue to provide free parking until WDC have made the necessary changes, the Town Council will notify residents when this has been implemented.