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New parking charges in Sudbury and Hadleigh set to take effect in January 2022

New parking charges will be introduced in two south Suffolk towns at the start of 2022 after being pushed back in response to feedback from local communities.

Babergh District Council announced this week that changes to fees at car parks in Sudbury and Hadleigh, which were agreed earlier this year, will take effect in January, in an effort to avoid disruption during the Christmas and new year period.

The tariff structure, proposed as a way to better balance traffic management, environmental ambitions and use of space, has faced criticisms over fears about the impact of cuts to free parking on visitor numbers.

Station Road car park Sudbury. Picture by Mark Westley
Station Road car park Sudbury. Picture by Mark Westley

At the time they were announced, Sudbury Chamber of Commerce chairman Robin Bailey stated they 'could well be the final nail in the coffin' for both town centres.

In response, the authority stated this week it had listened to feedback from the public and the town councils of Sudbury and Hadleigh, and has pushed the changes back to January to allow additional time to work with the high street to find the best solution for everyone.

The new arrangement will now include one hour of free parking – up from 30 minutes proposed previously – though this is still a reduction of current levels.

Meanwhile, businesses will also be engaged with on a potential loyalty scheme to allow reimbursements.

Elisabeth Malvisi, Babergh’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Christmas and new year are special and busy times for many.

“With this in mind, we wanted to ensure the least disruption possible and greatest benefit for our communities, which is why we’ve decided to introduce the new parking tariffs in January.

“Parking is, of course, a very careful balancing act, between the immediate needs and visions for our towns, those of the whole district and our environment.”

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