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Controversial changes to car parking charges in Sudbury, Hadleigh and Lavenham could start as early as October if approved





Controversial changes to car parking charges in one area of Suffolk could start as early as October if they are approved.

The changes are being proposed by Babergh District Council to offset part of the £6.7 million budget gap predicted to take hold by the 2027/28 financial year.

As it stands, when accounted for the small income it generates, the council picks up the £427,000 bill relating to all stays under three hours in council car parks in Sudbury, Hadleigh, and Lavenham.

Controversial changes to car parking charges in Sudbury, Hadleigh, and Lavenham could start as early as October if they are approved. Picture: Babergh District Council
Controversial changes to car parking charges in Sudbury, Hadleigh, and Lavenham could start as early as October if they are approved. Picture: Babergh District Council

Despite the financial pressures, the proposals to scrap free parking have been widely criticised by several parish and district councillors as well as residents, with a petition reaching nearly 9,000 validated signatures.

The changes include the introduction of a £1 charge for one hour in short stay parking — now capped at four hours — and two hours for a long stay, increasing by 50p increments each additional hour.

The council is also proposing to reduce the cost of all-day parking in Sudbury and Hadleigh from £3 to £2.50 — this would include parking in Great Eastern Road (Roys) and Magdalen Road, which are proposed to change to long stay parking.

If approved on Monday, the changes are expected to take around six months to deliver, coming into effect from October.

The extra money raised through parking between October and the end of the 2024/25 financial year is expected to leave the council’s budget £395,000 better off.

Over the next three years, the council is expecting to make around £2.5 million in income which, once running costs are factored in, should lead to the budget being better off by nearly £1.9 million.

The report warns, however, that this money is not enough to plug the projected budget gap and can lead to more difficult decisions being made.