New tariffs in Babergh car parks, which will continue to include an hour’s free parking, will come into effect in January next year.
Earlier this year, Babergh’s cabinet agreed changes to their parking tariffs, to be implemented from October at the earliest.
Public feedback and representations by Hadleigh and Sudbury Town Councils were listened to, with councillors pushing back the proposed changes from July to October at the earliest, and increasing subsidised (known as free) parking time from the proposed 30 minutes to an hour.
Evidence suggests business recovery across the district, since the lifting of Government restrictions, is progressing as people resume normal life. However, introducing the changes in January next year, allows the council as much time as possible to work with the high street to find the best solution for everyone. This includes engagement with businesses to look at the possibility of introducing a loyalty scheme to enable reimbursements.
It will also help avoid any unnecessary disruption or uncertainty about the changes during the Christmas and New Year period, with many focusing on spending time with family and friends.
Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:
“Christmas and New Year are special and busy times for many. With this in mind we wanted to ensure the least disruption possible and greatest benefit for our communities, which is why we’ve decided to introduce the new parking tariffs in January.
“This will hopefully, allow us to get a loyalty scheme in place for car park users over coming months – meaning more free stays.
“Parking is, of course, a very careful balancing act, between the immediate needs and visions for our towns, those of the whole district, and our environment.
“I’m excited to see how we can all look towards more sustainable travel in future, and ensure Babergh remains a place we are all proud to call home.”
The tariffs follow an independent parking study which found current parking arrangements were outdated and not making best use of available space.
Introducing the charges will help create availability in the council’s short stay car parks for quick visits. It will also ensure people park in the right space for their stay; better balancing the needs of local residents, visitors, businesses, and workers.
The district will still have some of the lowest tariffs in comparison to similar sized UK towns and in wider Suffolk, to attract people locally to visit and see what’s on offer.
Cllr Malvisi, continued: “Any income generated from tariffs will be directly ploughed back into improving the parking facilities and supporting the wider visions for our towns.”
Income raised from the small tariff increases will contribute towards:
- machine upgrades to include a contactless payment option
- updating and improving cycle parking, provision for EVs, and maintenance, wayfinding, signage, and markings
- covering general annual operational costs
The changes also include more opportunities for residential parking including;
- resident-only car park spaces
- a wider permit scheme for use of public car parks
- working with Suffolk County Council to introduce more provision of on-street parking
Residents, businesses, and visitors will also soon be able to have their say on their parking experience across the district, as part of the council’s consultation to shape their parking strategy. Further details on how to take part are expected to follow over coming days.
The strategy will provide a parking blueprint for the next 5-10 years, looking at capacity and other needs across Babergh and neighbouring Mid Suffolk.