DAVE GOODERHAM: ‘Change’ could fund a special project

A personal view
A personal view

I’m settling into life in and around Bury St Edmunds rather nicely. The short drive to work is a breeze, the family trips to the local parks are plentiful and I have even managed to frequent a few bars and restaurants in recent weeks.

But living in a bigger town still takes some getting used to – especially when it comes to additional costs.

We pay a little more in rent and a little more in Council Tax but that was expected.

But one thing that has taken a little more getting used to is the extra cost in parking.

As any regular reader of this newspaper will know, this has become something of a hot potato in recent weeks.

Alongside the recent joys of having a beach in the middle of Bury has been the despair of car parking prices and the perceived rip-off of no change being given to disgruntled drivers.

Having lived in Clare and then Long Melford for five years, I was largely used to free parking in the quaint town of Sudbury. True, you still had to display a ticket but as long as you didn’t forget to display, it never cost you a penny.

Bury, a much bigger town with, dare I say, more attractions, is a whole different parking beast.

Whether it is paying a pound for enjoying an evening meal in the arc or paying a whole lot more on Angel Hill, there is no hiding place.

So it was little surprise that we recently learned that St Edmundsbury Borough Council has raked in an extra £83,000 by simply not offering change.

This is a huge figure, for both motorists to lose out on and for the council to pocket.

Understandably, the damning figure was met with horror by BFP readers, even if you can appreciate some of the counter claims from councillors who believe having a machine full of change would be at risk of crime.

So what can be done? A pay-on exit scheme would seem sensible though one imagines the cost involved could again be quite huge.

Or how about the council highlighting where that £83,000 is being spent. Yes, by definition, it will be put back into the borough.

But maybe motorists wouldn’t be so irate if it was used to fund a specific and much-needed project.

Food for thought or an impossible problem?

Either way, something has to be done or all the admirable hard work getting people to visit and stay in the town will be marred by the anger caused in having to park there.