Moreton Hall employees could receive passes to a nearby council-owned car park as part of efforts to solve a parking crisis and free up spaces for paying customers.
Increasingly, business owners in Lawson Place have complained about parking issues, with reports of some commuters using the area as a free long-stay car park and catching buses or car sharing into other parts of Bury St Edmunds.
On Tuesday, at a meeting attended by retailers, councillors and council officers, it was suggested staff be allowed to use the old community centre car park, opposite the Hilltop care home in Heldhaw Road, which has space for around 35 cars.
A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “We have been working with retailers and residents on resolving the difficulties presented by commuters blocking car parking in front of the shops, intended as quick turn round spaces for customers, and leaving nowhere for them to park.”
She said council officers were now looking in detail at the feasibility of using the Heldhaw Road site for long term car parking in combination only with a free staff permit scheme.
The introduction of the permit scheme could delay or negate completely the need for a previously proposed excess parking charge scheme, which would apply to car park users staying longer than three hours.
The council spokeswoman said: “If it is found that this is widely acceptable and operationally viable, the proposal is that the scheme would be trialled for three months to assess its effectiveness, before any further action, including introducing parking fines, is considered.”
Cllr Frank Warby said: “There’s a chance this will alleviate the problems up there by freeing up parking for customers - we’ll just have to suck it and see.”
Cllr Trevor Beckwith said: “It’s adding more parking to the area and, if it works, then good. We’ve got to do something. Whether this will work or not, only time will tell.”