Drivers who block tour bus drop0-off bays accused of hitting Bury’s tourism

Just enough space for one tour bus to drop passengers off at Angel Hill this Wednesday but OurBuryStEdmunds says up to 10 buses call on  market days. 

Picture Mark Westley
Just enough space for one tour bus to drop passengers off at Angel Hill this Wednesday but OurBuryStEdmunds says up to 10 buses call on market days. Picture Mark Westley
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Motorists who regularly block tour bus drop off bays have been accused of hitting tourism by being ‘selfish’.

In spite of an 18-month campaign by OurBuryStEdmunds, backed by action from Bury St Edmunds Town Council, the problem of parked cars blocking drop-off bays in Angel Hill has led to coaches being unable to safely drop passengers.

Mark Cordell, the chief executive of OurBuryStEdmunds business improvement district, said thatlast summer they put up explanatory posters, put notes on cars and wrote to local occupiers, often getting unfavourable responses.

“We started getting feedback from coach companies saying they were struggle to safely drop customers in Angel Hill,” he said.

“Some said it was chaos and they wouldn’t come back.

“Police have been down there giving out tickets, but if these people get away with it they can park there all day for free.

“It’s all about laziness – they can’t be bothered to walk from Ram meadow. It’s impacting on tourists and its impacting on our businesses.

“On a typical market day we get from four to 10 buses there – that’s up to 500 visitors. One of our businesses was down there two or three weeks ago handing out fliers to passengers and two buses tried to stop but just drove on. I hope they parked elsewhere, but they may not have.

“If you’re doing half a day in Bury then going somewhere else, you may just go on if you can’t stop.”

Andrew Speed, town council leader, said the PCSO they sponsor visits the area regularly. But he added: “It’s often local businesses who will hop out then move it back when she has gone.”

He said the council was looking at changing signs and road markings, introducing paid parking at times the buses where not calling and stepping up enforcement.

“It’s hugely selfish,” he complained.

A Suffolk Highways spokesman said they were looking at ‘enhancing’ signs to make it clear drivers should not park there during the day.

Cllr Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “In the longer term, the borough council is working towards taking on Civil Parking Enforcement from the police although the legal process for this means that it won’t be in place before 2019.”