Shops chief calls for greater council innovation to bring visitors into Bury St Edmunds

Mark Cordell, Bid4Bury chief executive, at the launch of the Free from 3pm parking scheme in Bury St Edmunds
Mark Cordell, Bid4Bury chief executive, at the launch of the Free from 3pm parking scheme in Bury St Edmunds

A shops chief in Bury St Edmunds is calling on a council to find more innovative ways to increase the number of people visiting the town.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury said he was ‘delighted’ that a St Edmundsbury Borough Council report recommended extending a Tuesday free from 3pm parking trial by a year to April 2015.

But he is ‘disappointed’ that the council will look to put up parking charges from April in a move that is expected to boost its coffers by another £160,000 a year – on top of the £1.8m in made last year.

“With the success of the free from 3pm scheme and this additional money, I will be interested in discussing with the council other innovative ways to increase car parking usage in the town,” Mr Cordell said.

He however refused to be drawn as to whether he would be asking the council to extend the free from 3pm scheme to other days.

A report to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee yesterday (4) recommended that season ticket costs should remain the same, but charges at the Arc should go up by 20p for the three hour tariff, the multi-storey car park should increase by 10p, the three hour charge at School Yard West by 20p and Ram Meadow by 10p.

It said increases need to be justified but argued its reason was to pay for services.

The committee also agreed to set up a council group to look at pay on exit parking.

Meanwhile the Free From 3pm parking now attracts uo to 2,000 people a week.

Despite giving away free parking, the council said its income is ‘consistent’ with last year.

Mr Cordell said: “I am delighted that the free from 3pm parking has been so successful and welcome the deicsion to carry it on for another year.

“I am disappointed however that the council sees a need to increase car parking charges.”

However he said he had a ‘positive working relationship’ with the council and hopes that it will bring in pay on exit parking soon.

The council meanwhile said there had been 20 per cent less parking fines issued than last year.

“Fines are issued as a last resort, in most cases where it is apparent that no payment for the service has been made or attempted,” said an overview and scrutiny report.