Parking ticket machines will be installed in Harleston if no agreement is made by the end of the month

Harleston Town Centre. Photo: Bill Darnell

Harleston Town Centre. Photo: Bill Darnell - Credit: Archant � 2006

Residents in South Norfolk have been given until the end of the month to come to a decision on the fate of their car parks.

Parking in Harleston has been free but now South Norfolk Council (SNC) want to put parking ticket machines in Broad Street and Bullock Fair Close car parks - bringing parking in-line with surrounding towns.

If a result is not found by October 31, SNC will start charging for use of the car parks with one hour free.

Until now the town council has been leasing Broad Street and Bullock Fair Close car parks from the district council at £ 17,156 each year.

Chairman of the Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, Francis Bickley says they are waiting to here from Co-op, who own part of the Bullock Fair Close car park and have completed a valuation survey.

Mrs Bickley said: 'The decision is yet to be made, but we will have a full council meeting on Wednesday, October 18.

'We hope to make a decision before then but we hope to hear from Co-op who have had an independent survey of rent value to assess cost next to SNC's prices.

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'SNC have made us very clear of our options.'

The first option is SNC takes control of both car parks and brings in charges with the first hour free.

The second choice is SNC takes control of the car parks, and the town council funds the second free hour.

And the third possibility would be the town council takes over the whole lease at a higher cost.

South Norfolk Council Cabinet member Lee Hornby said: 'We've been talking to Harleston Town Council for more than a year trying to get an agreement. We're not trying to impose a decision, that's why we extended the lease by 12 months to allow negotiations to take place and we extended it again 'til 31 October to allow the town council to conduct a parish poll.'

If the town council wants to keep its free car parks, it would face a £50,000 per year charge - more than double what it currently pays.

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