Plans to future proof Babergh’s parking on the agenda
Next week, Babergh’s cabinet will discuss parking provision across the district – seeking a way to retain subsidised parking to support local business, while encouraging more sustainable transport options for the future.
On 7 January, Babergh District Council’s cabinet will discuss the findings of an independent parking study, which found current arrangements are not making best use of available space. The study also highlighted ways behaviours could shift, to support the council’s, and county’s, environmental ambitions and improve traffic management in Babergh.
While subsidised (commonly referred to as free) parking is proposed to remain in Hadleigh and Sudbury, in order to support local business, it would be shortened to a maximum of 30 minutes, and small tariffs would be introduced for longer periods.
By introducing the new charges, the council aims to create availability in their short stay car parks for quick visits, and encourage more trips in their town centres by ensuring people park in the right space for their stay. Better balancing the needs of local residents, visitors, businesses, and workers.
The proposed charges would still mean Babergh having some of the lowest tariffs in comparison to similar size towns in the UK and wider Suffolk, to attract shoppers locally.
Each town has been looked at individually, so local parking strategies best balance demand and need. If approved, the measures would come into effect from 1 July 2021.
Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:
“Ensuring we have localised and future-proof parking plans in place in our towns is vital for our short and long term COVID-19 recovery. But it is also vital in encouraging a shift change towards more sustainable travel and meeting our climate change ambitions.
“It is a careful balancing act. We must make better use of our space, ease congestion and reduce pollution, carry out necessary public realm improvements, as well as continue to support our strong visitor economy.
“By managing our parking stock better, we can make sure people can find the right space, in the right place, leading to positive first and last impressions of our towns. We can act on our climate change ambitions and support residents’ wellbeing, and we can make parking fairer, so non-motorists aren’t paying for services they don’t use.”
Any income raised from approval of small tariff increases will go towards:
- sustainable travel schemes - up to 30% of income
- machine upgrades to include a contactless payment option - £70k
- updating and improving cycle parking, EV and maintenance, wayfinding, signage, and markings - £105k
- covering general annual operational costs - £210k
Cllr Malvisi, continued:
“Any income generated from tariffs would be directly ploughed back into improving parking facilities and supporting the wider visions for our towns.”
These wider visions include work currently underway in Hadleigh, as well as the existing Sudbury vision which has made significant progress over the last year.
The council has also recently modernised payment at its car parks through the introduction of MiPermit aiming to reduce paper waste created by traditional paper tickets.
Further exploration of electric vehicle charging across the districts is underway, with a recent announcement of solar car port funding at the councils Station Road car park in Sudbury.
If agreed, proposals also include undertaking more in-depth parking reviews for each town centre.
Creating more opportunities for residential parking is also being explored. Resident-only car park spaces, a wider permit scheme for overnight use of public car parks, and working Suffolk County Council to introduce more provision of on-street parking are all being considered.