Free parking boost for Bungay and Halesworth
Shops and businesses in Bungay and Halesworth are hoping for a boost in trade after Waveney District Council announced a one-hour free parking trial in the market towns.
One hour of free parking will be given in council car parks from the autumn, subject to final approval, with the hope of bringing in more people to the towns.
Bungay Mayor Terry Reeve said he hoped it would also help the problems of illegal parking in the town.
'This will be a big boost to the town and I hope it will help shops and traders having a hard time,' he said.
'Car parking is always an issue in small market towns like Bungay, so to get one hour's parking without having to pay will hopefully alleviate that.'
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He added: 'This is something that the chamber of trade has worked very hard at – and well done to them for negotiating it.'
Tony Goldson, who represents Halesworth on the district council, said: 'I have been working hard to bring these changes in to help businesses, residents and visitors to Halesworth and our other market towns for a long time.
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'I am delighted as there will be significant savings for people coming to Halesworth and these changes will have a huge benefit for tourism in both Halesworth and Bungay.'
The Halesworth Town Centre Group and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey were also among those who had called for it.
The trial, which will be introduced subject to formal consultation, will initially run for a year. Reduced-price permits will also be available through the change to car park charges.
Stephen Ardley, Waveney portfolio holder for operational partnerships, said: 'There is always a careful balancing act between keeping costs down for those who use our car parks and the level of revenue required to maintain them to acceptable standards.
'However, we feel that it is vital, as part of a businesslike approach to encouraging growth and the local economy, that we do as much as can to get shoppers into our towns.'
The plans have to be consulted using the statutory Traffic Road Order process, which can take 21 days. Changes can then be implemented in six to eight weeks.