Call for 'consistency' amid review into car parking in Suffolk districts

North Street car park, Sudbury. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A consultation on car parking in Babergh and Mid Suffolk is being launched - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A review of parking in two Suffolk districts must put "sustainable transport front and centre", according to one councillor.

Documents outlining a consultation into parking in Babergh and mid Suffolk have been released, after a controversial attempt was made to cut free parking in Hadleigh earlier this year.

The documents outline how a parking strategy will be developed over the next year, with the plan of putting it into place in September 2022. 

Developing the strategy is expected to cost £41,000 and will be jointly funded by Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils.  

It will look at how changes to parking could affect the local economy, the environment and local transport links while also taking into account forthcoming developments.

Andrew Stringer, a county councillor and Mid Suffolk district councillor, said the consultation was an opportunity.

Andrew Stringer

Green councillor Andrew Stringer - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"We need to have a fundamental review," he said.

"There needs to be a parking strategy and we need to consult the public. But we also need to show leadership on how we move towards more sustainable modes of transport.

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"If we generate income from those car parks, that needs to be badged as business support and or it needs to be used to help those who can't access that town in a car using sustainable modes of transport. This is an opportunity to join us all up." 

Frank Minns, mayor of Hadleigh, said: "There is no issue, which more galvanises public opinion than parking and traffic issues. 

Frank Minns, the new mayor of Hadleigh, says more needs to be done for the town's young people. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Hadleigh mayor Frank Minns - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"And it'd be very, very unwise not to listen to people when they want to talk about something which is so high up their list of priorities.

"As things stand, we know that people will park anywhere to avoid paying if they possibly can.

"And if you want to be more than an hour in Hadleigh, the risk is you're going to park in a residential street.

"I'm pleased to hear that there will be a strategy, but it cannot just be about the car parks. It needs to allow for the knock on effect of anything you do in the car parks."

Mr Minns added that he would want to see "coherence and consistency" in where charges were introduced in any strategy.

A spokesman for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils said: “We are keen to work with our communities through consultation to develop a comprehensive parking strategy which looks at all elements of parking provision across the districts for the longer term.

"This includes both on-street and off-street parking, as well as economic, environmental, and community impacts.

“Ensuring we have the right parking in the right places both now and in the future, and in line with national guidance, is essential for the regeneration and visions for our towns, and surrounding villages. Perhaps most important, is looking at ways we can shift behaviours towards more sustainable travel in line with our carbon reduction ambitions.

“Whether shoppers, tourists, visitors, residents, workers or commuters – we want to make sure everyone has access to sufficient, good quality, safe, and welcoming parking opportunities across our districts. This is what our parking strategy will help us deliver.”

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