No short-stay charges for now, says group

WE DID IT: From left: Penny Cook and Carol Bailey from Hadleigh Town Council, Tony Platt, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Chairman John McMillan and Mark Heselden.
WE DID IT: From left: Penny Cook and Carol Bailey from Hadleigh Town Council, Tony Platt, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Chairman John McMillan and Mark Heselden.

Free short-stay car parking in Sudbury and Hadleigh has been secured for the foreseeable future following a crunch meeting.

Members of the towns’ car parking groups met with representatives from Babergh District Council on Thursday and thrashed out an agreement that will safeguard against the introduction of charges for stays of less than three hours.

Tony Platt, Sudbury group chairman, said: “We had a very positive meeting and there is no likelihood of short-stay charges for now.

“We will continue to work with Babergh and, in the future, will consider the issue of car parking not as a source of revenue, but for the promotion and economic prosperity of the towns.

“We know Babergh needs to make budget cuts, but car parking should not be the answer.”

It had been the group’s ambition to take over the management of the car parks and a business case was being drawn up. However, it is understood this will not happen for some time, if at all.

“The intention is that Babergh will not make any changes to parking without consultation with this group,” said Mr Platt, a Sudbury town councillor.

“All options are open, but that means we don’t have to move as quickly.

“There is no proposal to increase in long-term charges at the moment and if there was there would be a debate.”

John McMillan, president of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said last week’s meeting at Hadleigh Town Council had delivered more than he anticipated.

“It looks like we have won the battle and are getting what we wanted,” he said. “It is better than I dared hope for.”

The group plans to meet regularly with district council officials to discuss the issue.

Chris Fry, head of service for environment at Babergh, said: “We had a very productive meeting.

“We’re looking at new ways of managing car parking to make it more cost effective in the next couple of months, with new technology and other ideas,” he said.