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ESC Off Street Parking Places Order

The East Suffolk Council (ESC) Off Street Parking Places Order is now on the council website. Anyone may support, comment or object to the proposals via www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/parking by 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday 25 March 2020. Your response must include your name and address and note that all responses may be considered in public by the Council and that the substance of any response together with the name and address of the person making it could become available for public inspection.

It is appreciated that many people contacted ESC to complain about the proposed changes to car parking charges in Wickham Market. We have been informed that none of these letters or emails will be considered. The only comments that ESC will take into account regarding this order are those submitted on the website.

It is vital that as many responses as possible are sent to ESC to express our concern about this Order. If a significant number of responses are submitted we may be able to change these proposals. Wickham Market only managed to get SCDC to accept the current car park charging regime in 2015 after significant work by the Traffic and Parking Working Group. The monthly season ticket price of £10 is a special arrangement which only applies to Wickham Market. If you wish it to remain you must state that you wish this “special arrangement” to remain.

These proposals differ in some respects from those originally suggested. The main difference is that ticket machines will remain and the move to machines where you have to enter your car registration number is not mentioned. There is currently a different pricing policy for each car park in Wickham Market which tries to encourage people to use the car parks effectively. The 4 car parks’ functions are:

a. Chapel Lane Car Park. This car park is primarily for the users of the medical centre, the library, the resource centre and Richard Kitson Court. The old tariffs were designed with this in mind. The free hour gave most patients the opportunity to attend appointments in the medical centre without paying a car parking fee, but the new tariffs will ensure that most people will have to pay when they go to a medical appointment. Parking for longer than 2 hours was not allowed so that there were always spaces available for patients visiting the medical centre. This is also the main car park for the congregation of the church. b. The Hill Short Stay Car Park. This car park is the ideal location to pop into the village and go to the butchers, the paper shop or the pharmacy and none of these venues require one to stay a long time. The half hour free and a maximum of 2 hours means that there is a constant supply of new car parking spaces becoming available in the Hill car park. Thus increasing the footfall in the village centre. This is also used as a car park for the congregation of the church.

c. The Hill Long Stay Car Park. When car park charges were initially introduced in Wickham Market the Hill Long Stay car park was always empty. With the introduction of low-cost monthly season tickets in 2015, cars that were parked long term in the Chapel Lane and Village Hall car parks moved to the Hill Long stay car park thus freeing up spaces where a greater turnover was needed. These monthly season tickets have been available for purchase from the parish clerk and can be bought by anyone, although demand outstrips supply. Prior to this reduced price no monthly tickets were sold and if the price rises from £10 a month to £65 a month this will be the case again. These low-cost monthly season tickets are extremely popular and only 50 are available due to the size of the car park. It would be quite possible to sell 70 tickets a month if the space was available. d. Village Hall Car Park. When the current parking charge system was introduced in 2015 the Village Hall car park was brought under the jurisdiction of Suffolk Coastal District Council even though the land is owned by the Parish Council. This was because when SCDC first starting charging for parking in Wickham Market those people wishing to avoid paying left their cars in the Village Hall car park, thus preventing legitimate users of these facilities to park there. The system currently used is that a warning notice is placed on the window of an illegally parked car by the Parish Council explaining that their number had been noted and if they are parked in the car park illegally again then they would receive an excess charge notice. This trust arrangement has recently been abused and on 3 Mar 20 six warning notices were given to persistent offenders.

The main concerns for Wickham Market are: a. ESC is proposing that “The Hill Short Stay” car park is renamed “The Village” car park and “The Hill Long Stay” car park is renamed “The Hill” car park. b. The cost of a monthly season ticket increases from £10 to £65. c. The length of maximum stay in the Hill short stay car park and the Chapel Lane car park increases from 2 to 4 hours d. In the Chapel Lane car park the six spaces for the doctors and the space each for the Library and Resource Centre are not mentioned and could disappear. e. The hour free parking in the Hill Long stay car park and the Chapel Lane car park has been reduced to 30 minutes. f. Sunday car parking charges have been introduced. g. In the Chapel Lane car park, the residents’ parking permits for Richard Kitson Court blue badge holders are not mentioned. h. The cost of parking in the Hill long stay car park has increased to £1.00 up to 2 hours, £2.00 up to 4 hours, £4.00 for more than 4 hours. i. The Village Hall car park is not mentioned.

The best way to submit your comments is via the ESC website. The Parish Council is finding out how those people who do not have access to the internet can submit responses. The options you will be given are:

a. I support the proposals and think the order should be made as proposed. b. I support the proposals in principle but would like to see something changed e.g. a reduction in the number of days or a reduction in the operating time of an off-street parking place or a change in a tariff level. c. I object to the proposals and think the order should not be made.

This is followed by a small comment box where you can give the reason for your chosen option, but you can include a significant amount of text in this box if you wish. The best way to submit a comment is to cut and paste it into the comment box. A suggested response is:

a. I support the proposals in principle but would like to see something changed e.g. a reduction in the number of days or a reduction in the operating time of an off-street parking place or a change in a tariff level.

b. Comment: To avoid confusion, I recommend that the car park names in Wickham Market remain “Chapel Lane”, “The Hill”, “Percy Mason Long Stay” and “Village Hall”. The special arrangement that Wickham Market has regarding monthly season ticket prices must remain at the cost of £10 per month. The maximum length of stay should remain restricted to 2 hours in The Chapel Lane and the Hill Short Stay car parks. The first hour in the Chapel Lane car park should be free of charge to allow time to attend doctor’s appointments. Eight bays in the Chapel Lane car park are designated as free parking for the Medical Centre (6), the Library (1) and the Resource Centre (1). Richard Kitson Court residents who are Blue Badge holders should have parking permits for the Chapel Lane car park, but these permits do not allow parking in disabled parking bays. Sunday parking in Wickham Market is free of charge. Wickham Market Village Hall car park is to be included as a free car park.