Car park's £500 price hike was 'callous', town council says
- Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN
A "callous" £500 car parking price hike has been slammed after leaving a town's streets full of cars.
East Suffolk Council introduced the changes last year in an effort to ensure fairness across the district, with more than 70pc of prices slashed or frozen.
However, residents in Bungay now face a £650 cost for an annual ticket at the Wharton Street car park, up from £150.
At a meeting of Bungay Town Council's planning, environment and highways committee held online on Thursday night, councillors unanimously agreed to write to East Suffolk Council to express their "disgust" at the changes.
But the district council has stood by the decision, saying its new system is fair, reasonable and consistent.
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Town councillor Dave O'Neill said: "They wanted the same charges across all their car parks but the situation is quite different in the likes of Lowestoft to small market towns to Bungay, where our economy is struggling.
"We have had a massive increase and it is totally out of all proportion.
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"It was a crazy and crass decision to do this one-size-fits-all and there should have been more consideration for the needs of the community."
Fellow councillor Frances Betts said: "It is absolutely appalling but what is very scary about it is that it's now pushed all the cars that did use to park there into outlying roads.
"You cannot park down those roads now. There are cars permanently there and any spare parking space is gone and those people have to walk home in the dark, some of who are disabled, because they just cannot afford £650. It is a danger to our residents."
Lorna Richardson said with people told to work from home and struggling to make ends meet, the rise was "callous".
The new £650 fee equates to £1.80 per day, while a single all day ticket costs £4.
Following the rise, councillor Norman Brooks, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "While we understand people in some locations may be disappointed by price rises for parking, we are entirely clear our new tariffs are fair and reasonable for car users throughout the whole district and have been brought in with clear consideration for the three million occasions our car parks are used each year.
"Season ticket pricing has previously varied in cost by hundreds of pounds depending on the town or even specific car park used, and the new prices ensure drivers will benefit from the same pricing structure regardless of their location."