Councillor tables motion calling for feasibility study into potential of building multi-storey car park for Sudbury
Calls for a study into a possible multi-storey car park in Sudbury have been sounded, arguing it could address “the chaos ensuing from the lack of parking and high levels of congestion” in the town.
The motion, proposed and seconded by Great Cornard Conservative councillors Peter Beer and Mark Newman, respectively, has urged Babergh District Council to immediately commission a feasibility check and a business plan, inclusive of costs, for a new car park.
If approved, it would require the study to be reported back to the district council within six months.
The text of the motion states it is important to explore the potential of such a facility “considering news that the Sudbury relief road has been shelved for the foreseeable future”.
Subject to validation, it will be discussed at the next full council meeting on Tuesday at 5.30pm.
The council has previously outlined in its Vision for Sudbury document, which was published last year, a long-term ambition for the car park in North Street to become a multi-storey.
Cllr Beer, who represents the Great Cornard South ward, told the Free Press he felt a multi-storey car park could be “such a simple operation” to deliver.
He suggested it could be achieved with an outside company, or by the council borrowing money to fund it, and possibly implementing charges to park there.
“There are quite a few places where it could be built,” said Cllr Beer.
“This is something I have been on about for the last four years. I just feel we are not going anywhere with it.
“In my humble opinion, we have dragged our feet on this issue and I feel we need to start to deliver. It has got to be something significant.”
The motion also argues that the presence of a multi-storey car park could enable Babergh District Council to open up the top of North Street to traffic accessing the North Street car park, allowing the rest of the street to be pedestrianised.
Reacting to the motion, Labour’s Luke Cresswell, district councillor for the Sudbury South ward, said: “The motion put forward by the Conservative councillors for Great Cornard South would certainly lead to car parking charges.
“I do not know of any multi-storey car park, anywhere, that is free. I have no issue with the question of whether we need extra parking to be explored, although I think we currently have enough.
“I also believe we should focus on improving our town centre before worrying about a multi-story car park, because, if we’re not careful, it’ll be empty.
“By all means, let’s see the evidence and facts, so we can have the debate and make an informed decision.”
The tabling of the motion comes after Babergh District Council’s cabinet met on Wednesday to approve its draft joint area parking plan for a public consultation, which is expected to start on an unconfirmed date in the near future and run for six weeks.
The plan, which has been developed jointly with Mid Suffolk District Council, sets out the policy framework for parking provision and enforcement across both districts.
It does not include any proposals to increase car parking charges, nor any specific policies for parking restrictions in specific areas.
A spokesman for Babergh District Council said proposals for a multi-storey car park in Sudbury are not part of the draft parking plan.
However, they added that, as the proposals are part of the authority’s Vision for Sudbury, the new motion did not conflict with council plans.