Towns fear end to free car parking

CELIA WIGG Opposition is growing to a review of public car parks that could result in controversial charges introduced in two market towns. South Norfolk Council's Conservative-led administration is proposing that charging should be consistent across the district.

CELIA WIGG

Opposition is growing to a review of public car parks that could result in controversial charges introduced in two market towns.

South Norfolk Council's Conservative-led administration is proposing that charging should be consistent across the district. And this has sounded alarm bells in Harleston and Loddon which would be next in line for the pay-and-display system already operating in Diss and Wymondham.

At Harleston, visitors and residents are adding their names to a petition launched by traders who have joined community groups to oppose the move.

Estate agent Matt Thomas, said: "Harleston is a thriving market town because there is free parking and people are able to have convenient and untimed access to the shops. We believe it will be catastrophic for the town traders and businesses if this charge was brought in".

The authority's opposition Liberal Democrat group claimed this week, in their area newsletter, that the "Tory proposals threaten Harleston shops".

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Mr Thomas and other worried traders have united with town councillors and members of the Save Harleston Group to oppose the introduction of fees. And they will be looking for support from the town's recently elected Conservative district councillors.

"We will be talking to our local councillors to make sure they are aware of the strength of feeling against this within the community," he added.

Loddon Parish Council has also voiced concerns about introducing fees at Church Plain car park.

Chairman Peter Floyd said there was a problem with people parking at the site all day, leaving no room for shoppers. But they were opposed to fees across the board.

"I am sure there will be people in Loddon who are very concerned about this issue. People want some free parking and we are opposed to a blanket parking charge," he said.

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