The Moreton Hall pub is to introduce a ticket machine to ensure its car park only gets used by its own customers.
Pub guests using the car park, from what is likely to be next week, will have to purchase a £1 parking ticket but, as long as they take it into the pub within 15 minutes, they will be fully reimbursed.
Greg Humphreys, assistant pub manager, said: “It’s a shame we have to go through this. It’s not something we really wanted to do. We want to be a friendly pub, welcoming people in and car park machines don’t really send that message, but some people are abusing the car park and not thinking about others.”
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has previously discussed introducing three hour parking restrictions in Lawson Place to prevent motorists from using it as a free long-stay car park, and the pub car park as an overspill. It has also issued permits to business employees, allowing them to park in the nearby council-owned Heldhaw Road site.
But parking remains a problem.
“It’s upsetting when you see all these cars in our car park and there’s no-one in the pub, especially when you see our older guests, who maybe don’t get out that much, come just to have to turn around,” said Mr Humphreys.
Last year pub landlords Georgina and Billy Barnes began hiring a private firm to manage its car park and issue fines. More recently they have locked the car park after hours with a long chain and padlock.
Introducing the ticket machine, which is costly to install and maintain, is a ‘last resort’.
“Hopefully, the cost will be outweighed by the good it will do for our customers,” said Mr Humphreys.