Community effort secures free parking spaces in Halesworth
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Free parking in a Halesworth car park has been secured until at least the end of March 2018 thanks to a huge community effort.
The one-hour free parking spaces in the Thoroughfare have been subject to discussion since Waveney District Council announced district-wide plans to remove free spaces and raise other parking fees.
However after a campaign by the town council, a residents' petition and various alternative plans and ideas rejected, an agreement was made with the district council and the free one-hour parking was reinstated at the popular town car park in August last year.
And now thanks to support from the town council, local parish councils, town businesses and district councillor Tony Goldson a further £17,000 has been found so shoppers can enjoy the first free hour's parking until March 2018.
The town council has agreed to find money from its reserves, around £8,000, while Mr Goldson has allocated £2,000 from his budget.
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A further £2,000 has been pledged from the local parish councils and several thousand pounds pledged from the town's businesses.
Nick Rees, town clerk at Halesworth Town Council, said: 'Over the past three months we have contacted all the local parishes and businesses to see if they would be willing to contribute towards the free parking and the town council is delighted with the response which ensures that the free parking is maintained until March 2018.
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'In the latter part of 2017, the council will be looking at how it can afford to fund the free parking in the following year.
'The council is very happy to have found the money and would like to thank all those who have pledged their contributions.
'The free parking has been proven to increase footfall in the Thoroughfare and so it was vital that it was kept going.'
What do you think? Is free parking essential in our market towns? Write or email The Journal using the contact details on page 29.