Camille Berriman: Plethora of parking permutations

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Car parking. It seems to be the hot topic that gets everyone in Bury St Edmunds talking. And as an almost life-long Bury resident, even I am confused by recent changes and proposals.

Driving into the town centre, for whatever reason, now requires an almost encyclopaedic memory to figure out the best place to park. Am I going to be less than an hour? Then Robert Boby Way might be my best bet at 20p. Is it a Tuesday, after 3pm? Great, it’ll be free in St Edmundsbury Borough Council car parks. Am I popping in early on a Wednesday morning? In that case, I’ll try Lower Baxter Street as it’s free until 10am. Sunday morning coffee? Fine, I’ll park in the Buttermarket as on-street parking is free until 1pm.

A hair appointment for cut and colour: Well that could take hours – but will it be two, three, or more by the time I’ve had a bite to eat? This is when it starts to get complicated. The multi-storey and Ram Meadow are cheapest, but do I want to walk that far? In this case I normally reluctantly plump for the multi-story and put on an all-day ticket to be on the safe side.

Meeting friends for a meal in the evening? The Buttermarket or Angel Hill normally win out here given parking is free, as long as Suffolk County Council does not perform another u-turn on its ill-thought-out idea to introduce night-time charges.

Does all of that make sense to you or is your head already hurting? All I can say is thank goodness I am fortunate enough to work outside the town centre in a location with its own parking.

A look at the St Edmundsbury Borough Council website car parking page has not made things much clearer. Yes, all the information is there, but there is so much of it to wade through. When did popping into town become so complicated?

And if it is this hard for me to decide where to park every time I drive into town, just think how baffling it must be for Bury’s many visitors. One must hope any confusion does not put people off and send them along the A14 to Ipswich or Cambridge instead.