Bury St Edmunds pay on exit parking launched by West Suffolk Council
A pay-on-exit parking scheme, introduced on trial in Bury St Edmunds this week, has already been used by thousands.
The introduction of Flexi-Park is an answer to prayer for retailers, who have long-since called for it to stop shoppers needing to rush back to their vehicles.
West Suffolk Council introduced the scheme on Friday to St Andrew’s Short Stay and said 1,500 had used the scheme in its first two days, with ‘small queues’ reported at times.
Council leader John Griffiths said: “Some businesses feel they are missing out on trade because visitors are hurrying back to their car before their ticket expires.
“This pilot scheme aims to overcome this.”
During the trial, Flexi-Park will only to St Andrew’s Short Stay and is the only payment method accepted there. Old-style short and long stay car parking options are still available in other town centre car parks.
Andrew Speed, the business improvement district’s chairman, said: “We have been encouraging the council to introduce pay on exit parking for several years and believe it will give shoppers and visitors a real choice, enabling them to stay longer to enjoy our town, and potentially to spend more with our businesses.”
Councillor Peter Stevens, whose remit as operations cabinet member covers parking, said Flexi-Park will only accept card payments.
He added: “It is a trial the council will continue to monitor, being mindful of the turnover of spaces and how this could impact on motorists looking for somewhere to park.
“If successful we will look at the potential for rolling out Flexi-Park to some of our other car parks across west Suffolk.”
Flexi-Park will cost £1 an hour for the first six hours, after which a whole day charge of £10 will apply. If a driver stays overnight a £1 overnight charge will apply from 6pm.
In the scheme’s immediate heavy use, seven customers complained to the council, who have pledged to ‘continue to monitor’ the scheme.
It has not been stated how long the trial will last for and when the council will decide on any potential full roll-out. The authority is working with Our Bury St Edmunds to research how effective the scheme has been.