One-hour free parking to be reinstated in Halesworth

The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth where one-hour free parking will return.

The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth where one-hour free parking will return. - Credit: Nick Butcher

One-hour free parking spaces are set to return to Halesworth following a seven-month battle.

Halesworth Town Council has been campaigning to save its free parking places in the Thoroughfare car park ever since Waveney District Council launched a consultation in October to scrap free spaces and increase rates.

And now, after months of discussions, a petition signed by residents, and the rejection of three alternative plans put forward by the town council, both parties have come to an agreement.

Halesworth Town Council chairman Anne Fleming said: 'We've always said we were willing to pay something, but what we've argued about is how much.

'Our district councillor Tony Goldson has been working hard on our behalf having meetings with Waveney District Council, and finally, in the last few days, we have come to an agreement.

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'Originally they wanted us to pay £17,500 the first year, £25,000 the second year and £34,00 the third year to keep free parking. But now we will be paying £10,000 which will be negotiated each year, which is good for them and us so we can see how things go.

'We are hoping we will get some contributions from the traders and the local parishes, but we haven't asked them yet until we get all the details back.'

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Mrs Fleming said that since losing the one-hour free parking, the council had seen a drop in visitor numbers.

She said: 'Since the changes we have been aware that fewer people have been coming into the town and we've got some parking figures which we haven't analysed yet, but at a first glance they show there have been fewer visitors.

'We are extremely happy with the news and we are hoping to get it reinstated very shortly. We don't have a date set yet, but it would be lovely to have it back by the end of the month.'

Stephen Ardley, cabinet member for operational services at Waveney District Council, said: 'We are very pleased that, as with Bungay, we have been able to reach an agreement which will enable Halesworth to restore its free first hour of parking.

'Financial pressures on the council meant that it was impossible for us to entirely absorb the cost of this offer any longer, however this is an agreement which makes good sense and will benefit the town. We hope that the scheme proves to be a success and that it marks the beginning of a longer term arrangement.'

An extraordinary meeting of the town council will be held on Monday at the Day Centre at 6.30pm to further discuss the agreement.

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