Babergh parking charges postponed
Plans to introduce new tariffs, including an hour’s free parking, in Babergh car parks from January next year, have been postponed.
This week, Babergh’s new cabinet member for environment, Cllr Siân Dawson, announced the postponement of the implementation of the new tariffs, focusing instead on supporting businesses and the recovery of the district’s high streets.
The changes agreed by Babergh’s cabinet earlier this year, were due to begin in January next year, to allow as much time as possible to work with the high street to find the best solution for everyone, and avoid unnecessary uncertainty during the Christmas season.
However, the implementation date has been further postponed, recognising that while evidence suggests gradual business recovery across the district since Government restrictions were lifted, supporting the local economy, and encouraging residents back to the high streets must now take priority.
Cllr Dawson said:
“We have continued to listen to our residents, parish and town councils, businesses and others, and understand free parking in our towns is an emotive subject for many.
“Therefore, the decision to postpone the implementation of the new tariffs has been made, while we continue to prioritise supporting our businesses and welcoming people back to our high streets.
“Parking, of course, remains a very careful balancing act, between the immediate needs and visions for our towns, those of the whole district, and our environment.
“I am hopeful we can be financially creative over coming months to finance the loss of subsidising our car parks and continue to help our towns to thrive.”
A new implementation date, or any changes to the agreed tariffs, have not yet been agreed.
Improvements due to be funded by car park income, such as signage, resurfacing and access improvement works, active travel improvements, and extended resident parking permit schemes, are also expected to be delayed.
In the meantime, the council are developing a joint parking strategy – setting out a blueprint for the next 5-10 years. It will take on board feedback received during the councils’ recent consultation, while also looking at capacity and other needs across Babergh and neighbouring Mid Suffolk.