A group representing business interests in Clare has called a meeting to address the town’s escalating ‘parking crisis’.
Clare Business Association (CBA) has invited representatives from a number organisations, including Clare Playing Fields Association, trustees of Clare Castle Country Park and the county, borough and town councils, to a meeting on September 7 to discuss possible parking solutions.
Sarah Pugh, chairman of the CBA, said a lack of parking enforcement was to blame and she thought Suffolk, like many other counties, should transfer responsibility for this from the police, for whom it is understandably not a priority, to either the town or borough council.
She said: “Parking has become a bit of a hot potato because there isn’t any enforcement of parking regulations so we get people who park all day, every day in business spaces in High Street and they can do that because they know there’s nobody to police it.”
Mrs Pugh said she is sure ‘Clare isn’t the only place suffering from a parking crisis’ but it had prevented some people from being able to shop in the town and a solution needed to be found going forward.
She added: “We’ve got a new development in Stoke Road and a proposed new development in Cavendish Road with potential new car owners who will drive in to go to the doctors, the bank which opens twice a week, the pharmacy – where are they going to park?
“We’ve then got the issue of residents who, like myself, don’t have parking. These buildings weren’t built with parking so residents living in the town need somewhere to put their cars.
“Some days it’s absolute hell here and we can’t park as a resident and other days it’s not an issue. But, no doubt, difficulties in parking are increasing and there doesn’t seem, to the business association, to be any solutions coming forward, and that’s why we’ve invited people to this meeting.”
Maxine Clay, of Stoke-by-Clare, said parking in Clare was a ‘nightmare’ and she had started shopping in Haverhill as a result.
A hip problem makes it difficult for the 78-year-old to leave her car at the country park and walk to the shops.
“I do think they’re losing a lot of trade,” she said.
Her neighbour Scilla Blake-James said she thought increases in car park charges at the country park and an extension to the hours in which they applied were encouraging drivers to use on-street parking where they would not have previously, to the detriment of shops and businesses.
Mrs Pugh launched a survey this week to find out which of Clare’s business people drive to work and how many of them choose to use on-street parking rather than buy an annual permit for the park, which costs £50.