Trade leader calls for more parking meters

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THE chairman of a group of businesses in Bury St Edmunds has called for parking meters to be installed to deter illegal parking.

Cllr Paul Hopfensperger, who is chairman of the Risbygate Street Traders Association, was speaking at a meeting on Wednesday as St Edmundsbury Borough Council prepares to launch a new public consultation over car parking charges.

“There is a problem in Risbygate Street – the whole of the street is being used as a car park,” Cllr Hopfensperger told the meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny commitee.

He said motorists, including blue badge holders, were parking on single and double yellow lines in and around the Risbygate Street area.

“I think the only way we are going to solve it is to put pay and display in those streets,” Cllr Hopfensperger said.

The consultation over car parking charges follows a wave of anger, particularly from business groups, over a 10 per cent increase to parking.

Bury’s Chamber of Commerce and the Bid4Bury group, which represents town centre traders, presented a 3,078- name petition to the council back in March.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury, warned the council that annual rises could hit the number of people coming to Bury and the time they spent shopping in the town.

He said the policy of increasing charges every year was ‘unimaginative’.

Cllr David Nettleton, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, said consultation with businesses had already begun and had been welcomed by traders.

He said the public consultation would be face-to-face with those people using the car parks rather than sending out a survey to 2,000 households as the council has done in the past.

“We certainly need to get the views of the public and the views of businesses – they are very important to us,” he said.

The meeting heard that car park attendants will conduct the surveys. Among the questions they will ask is whether motorists thinking the parking charges are value for money.

Although the council could cut charges in this financial year, the findings are expected to be used to help set charges from next April.