Parking costs rise at twice rate of inflation

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Car parking charges in Bury St Edmunds rose at almost double the rate of inflation between 2007-2011.

In the four-year period, the cost of parking in the town centre rose by between 25 and 50 per cent.

A plan to implement a further 10 per cent uniform increase in parking charges is set to come in from April .

Robert Oxley, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Drivers already face excessive motoring taxes, the last thing they need is to be targeted by further punitive parking charges aimed at milking them for even more cash.

“Expensive parking fees not only take money from hard pressed motorists but also harm struggling local business by pushing trade outside of the town centre.

“St Edmundsbury Borough Council should support the local community by cutting the charges not increasing them at a time when all family budgets are squeezed.”

The cost of up to two hours parking at the Cattle Market car park rose by 47 per cent between 2007 and 2011 - 57p above the rate of inflation.

From April, the cost of two hours parking in the Cattle Market car park will be £2.75 - a £1.05 increase on the 2007 price of £1.70.

A spokeswoman from the council said: “Charges are not always applied in the same way across every car park, they are used as a traffic management tool to divert people from over-used, congested car parks to those where there are more spaces.

“The pattern of use in Bury St Edmunds’ car parks has changed a lot since 2007 and particularly over the last three years since the arc opened.

“We welcome visitors to Bury St Edmunds and our car park charges continue to be lower than comparative shopping destinations.”

The largest increases in the cost of long-stay parking were seen in 2008 when the charge of more than five hours parking in St Andrew’s Car Park rose by a massive 30%.

The price of short-stay parking saw its most dramatic rise in 2011 when the price of up to two hours parking in the Cattle Market car park rose by 25 per cent.

Between 2010 and 2011, car parks in Bury St Edmunds generated £2,860,756 of income of which £1,549,010 was reinvested into parking provision.

The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request by the Bury Free Press.