Pay on exit parking scheme to be trialled in Bury St Edmunds
A £10,000 pay on exit parking scheme is to be trialled in a car park in Bury St Edmunds this summer following calls from businesses.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council will modify ticket machines and install new signs so people can ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ using the cashless initiative in the short stay area of the St Andrew's car park from June.
It follows calls from Our Bury St Edmunds, which represents town centre businesses, who said that retailers were missing out on sales as customers needed to hurry back to their cars before their parking ran out.
Garry Easter, chairman of Our Bury St Edmunds and manager of Marks and Spencer in the town, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to work with the council to find a solution to how we can deliver a more flexible form of parking.
"We have heard some anecdotal feedback from businesses that people are leaving shops or cafes and restaurants because they need to get back to their car before their ticket expires.
"This overcomes that problem and shows the Council’s support at a time when the nature of the high street nationally is going through change and retailers are having to adapt to the challenges ahead.”
If the trial proves a success we can then look to extend its use to other car parks in Bury St Edmunds and elsewhere in West Suffolk - Peter Stevens
To ‘check in, check out’ people will park up, wave their debit or credit card at a contactless pad and type in their vehicle registration.
The decision also follows a £109,477 fall in income from car parking in the borough last year and a four per cent decline in parking in Bury.
Cllr Susan Glossop, cabinet member for planning and growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “We recognise that it is a challenging time for many of our local retailers.
"Town centre footfall, which had been increasing year on year, has dipped slightly.
"More importantly is the amount that people actually spend in the shops and other town centre businesses.
"We can’t control whether somebody chooses to visit a shop to buy an item as opposed to ordering it online, but we can encourage people to shop local, visit our town centre more often, stay longer and spend more.”
Cllr Peter Stevens, cabinet member for operations, added: “Collectively we will need to monitor its success in terms of the numbers using it, its impact on congestion and queuing at Saturday lunchtimes when car parking demand is highest, its popularity and its impact on footfall and retail spend.
"If the trial proves a success we can then look to extend its use to other car parks in Bury St Edmunds and elsewhere in West Suffolk.
"We will of course continue to offer competitively priced long stay options in our other long stay car parks around the town.”