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Decision on car park charges in Dereham, Thetford, Swaffham, Watton and Attleborough announced

Friday, February 1, 2013
1.00 PM

Shoppers will not be charged to use car parks in five mid-Norfolk towns after Breckland Council decided against introducing fees to help fill a £2.5m budget gap.

A feasibility study, released today, had shown the council could have generated £828,000 a year if it charged drivers from the moment they enter the car parks.

However, council leader William Nunn said strong opposition from residents, and fears about the economic impact on the market towns, had persuaded his Conservative group not to introduce fees in Dereham, Thetford, Swaffham, Watton and Attleborough.

He said: “Talking to businesses as I did and listening to people when the heat was taken out of the debate, it was very apparent they had a very real preference for no charging for car parking.”

Instead, he is proposing a 7.8pc increase in the element of council tax set by Breckland Council, which would see bills for band D properties in the district rise by £4.98 a year, to £69.03.

The tax increase is likely to be the highest percentage increase in the country, but Breckland is expected to continue to have the lowest council tax of any district council.

The budget proposals will be considered by cabinet on February 12, before going to the full council for approval on February 28.

See tomorrow’s EDP for the full story.