Towns to benefit from an hour of free parking

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 September 2012 | UPDATED: 11:36 02 October 2012

Free parking for one hour in Halesworth Town Centre.

Free parking for one hour in Halesworth Town Centre.

Archant © 2012

Businesses and shops in Bungay and Halesworth have enjoyed a boost this week after Waveney District Council introduced one-hour free parking in the towns.

From Monday visitors to the town centres were able to enjoy an hour of free parking in council car parks, and it has been predicted that local businesses will reap the rewards.

Michelle Barker, chairman of the Bungay Chamber of Trade, said she was thrilled that all pay and display car parks in Bungay would be free for an hour and added that it marked the culmination of a year’s cooperation with the council.

“The council has worked really closely with us and we are really pleased with the result, this will be a real boost for Bungay,” she said.

“It is a fantastic place to visit and this will encourage even more people, which is better for the town and the local economy.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Tony Goldson, who represents Halesworth on the district council, were among those who called for the introduction of the scheme in Halesworth once they heard of the plan in Bungay.

Rita Doughty, chair of Halesworth Town Centre Group, said the introduction of the hour free parking in the Thoroughfare car park would be a welcome boost to the town.

“All we have are half a dozen car parking spaces free for an hour, so now there will be an hour in the town centre car park and I hope people take advantage of it,” she said.

“We have been on and on about the free parking for months.”

Tony Goldson, Waveney District Councillor and Suffolk County Councillor representing Halesworth, said: “Despite the lure of bigger towns and cities we need to remind people why places like Halesworth have so much to offer and knowing that you can pop in to the town and park for up to an hour without paying could make a big difference. This is a great scheme and just what the town needs.”

The hour of free parking will run for a year, while reduced-price permits are also to be made available through Waveney District Council.

Stephen Ardley, of Waveney District Council, said: “Clearly it is important that we receive sufficient revenue from our car parks to help with their upkeep and to improve the facilities we can offer anyone who parks in the town.

“However, this needs to be balanced against a need to encourage as many people as possible to come in to our towns and help boost the local economy by visiting and shopping there. Hopefully this fantastic offer will play its part.”

Information will be collected during this time to see if the initiative can be rolled out permanently.

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