Keep Free Parking in Sudbury, Suffolk

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Keeping three hours free parking in Sudbury is important to both businesses, visitors and residents as demonstrated in two recent surveys carried out by the Sudbury Town Team.  In a survey of businesses in Sudbury Town Centre in January 2014, free car parking was the main issued which was raised as the most important (…)

factor to the success of their business in the future.  Stephane Chapotot co-owner of The Secret Garden in Friars Street said “business rates are a large proportion of our costs and on top of that as a business we also have to pay for our bins to be emptied, what are these business rates going towards if we are also going to lose free parking for our customers?”

Another survey carried out by the Sudbury Town Team and Gainsborough’s House of visitors and residents who visited the town centre which come out in June 2015 showed that 31.7% came into Sudbury because of the free parking and 27.3% would like more free parking available.

Jane Hatton from the Sudbury Town Team said “it has been proven in other towns that when they lose free parking it discourages people from using the town centre, towns where parking charges have been introduced have then had to offer hours when parking is free to increase footfall but the damage to their town centres has already been done”.

Chris Storey from Sudbury Chamber of Commerce added “A careful scrutiny of the details surrounding the location of Sudbury, access to the town and other retail centres and the particular challenges of the town centre should make it absolutely clear that three hours free parking is essential if the town centre is not to decline significantly.  From a purely economic perspective the council should not have any grounds for bringing in charges.  The town is dependent on this for its future prosperity and a more retrograde step is hard to envisage.  Reducing the long term rateable value of the town centre – which is likely to result from such an act – together with the reduced employment and wellbeing derived from the town centre would reduce long term local government income and be far more costly than the small income car parking charges would produce.  The Chamber in conjunction with the Town Team remain resolved to fight these proposals and ensure that the town centre can have a long term viable and successful future for the benefit of all, including Babergh District Council.”

Please leave your comments below, the more feedback we have the better case we can make to Babergh District Council.

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24 Thoughts on “Keep Free Parking in Sudbury, Suffolk

  1. It’s an absolute no-brainer. To end free parking will inevitably damage the prosperity of the town’s businesses, as well as tourism in the area. Babergh need to listen to the local people!

  2. Keep Parking FREE in Sudbury.
    I am aware of numerous people who regularly shop in Sudbury because of free parking. Some of them live either in or around Colchester, others in or near to Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich. They like the fact that there are numerous independent businesses in Sudbury and that there is a reasonable amount of convenient parking which is currently free.
    Parking charges will make these people think twice. Some will decide to do more of their shopping in their local larger town. The knock on effect is likely to be more empty retail premises, as some follow the others who have gone out of business already.
    Of course Babergh will generate a few more pounds in the short term, by introducing parking charges. Long term, they are likely to see less revenue overall, as more businesses close down. Is this what any of us want?

  3. Free Parking is crucial for Sudbury. Half our staff have to travel by car into Sudbury and finding somewhere they can park all day is bad enough at present, if you make them pay to park this will force them to park in residential streets near to town which would cause another sort of problem. Keep Sudbury viable, keep parking free.

  4. Free parking is a MAJOR bonus in Sudbury. Changing it would be incredibly shortsighted and foolish. We do not have a problem with capacity – there are always spaces available – so I presume any change would only be for the council to raise money. The price we would all pay for this would be a reduction in people shopping in town. This would be very bad news for the high street retailers and the market traders. There are already concerns about the balance of commercial shops versus charity shops. If any of our councilors support this mad idea they should make their position clear ahead of the next council election and see how they fare at the polling station. My guess is that they would not be elected. It would be madness. Don’t do it.

  5. CHARGING FOR PARKING IN SMALL MARKET TOWNS IS NOT A POSITIVE OPTION. I will continue to support every local group that ask for a raffle prize.I will continue to offer various work placements to teenager’s brave enough to ask. My staff and I will give our time, often for no reward to help people struggling with the latest technology they have brought on the internet. We, as the local small businesses of lovely Sudbury need a little support from the district council if only to afford the disproportionately unfair business rates.

  6. The Sudbury residents and visitors do not want car parking charges as recorded in recent surveys.
    Local businesses do not want car parking charges as this will affect them financially. Clearly their customers will move elsewhere to places for example such as Tesco or Sainsbury’s where parking is free. Waitrose stores car park will be grid locked. The town suppliers of food/clothing will be affected in this way. The market will not be financially viable for the stallholders either so the town will lose that.
    Employees will continue to park in local streets. Shoppers will elect to do the same causing a nuisance to those residents. If the public have to start walking into town either from home or local street parking they will elect to go to Bury SE or Colchester where they can have more choice albeit with parking charges too.
    The financial benefit to the council will be minimal. People will avoid the charges by street parking. There is a large cost in employing car park inspectors, purchase/maintenance of ticket machines.
    In the long term retailers will move elsewhere reducing council income in rate return and the market will close.
    It would be better to sack the councillors and employ people who listen to their electorate.

  7. We need the free 3 hour parking, it encourages people to come and shop in Sudbury, it is also a great attraction for visitors to come and see our lovely town. If we stop the free parking, I feel that Sudbury Town will follow the decline of most of our other towns and villages that charge for parking.

  8. We pay a horrendous amount of business rates, if free parking is removed there will be a drop in football, drop in revenue, closure of another shop, who would want to pay to park for an empty abandoned high street?

  9. Having moved this last year from Hertfordshire where parking charges have throttled the life of the Town for many years, I was pleasantly surprised at the lenient charging system here in Sudbury.
    I had lived in the town of Hoddesdon for over 25 years and never had the town centre been a success continually struggling to overcome this parking charge noose.
    So Babergh if you really are considering this disastrous move, it will inevitably mean shoppers going elsewhere,and I for one will follow them.
    If things are not broke do not fix them.

  10. I live to the north of Colchester and went to Sudbury one day to shop. I was bowled over with the amount of people milling around and shopping (it wasn’t around Christmas either so that was not the reason) and by the fact that I could park for free for a while was a bonus leading to a relaxed visit and a profitable one for those who obtained my patronage. If Sudbury wants to go the way of Colchester with a dead town centre due to parking costs then what is planned is one way to go about it. I never go into Colchester itself – I will use out of town shopping centres or places such as Sudbury where I can park for free and so do lots of others. The park and ride in Colchester is also a big flop as it has very few customers because it costs so much to use. It was well publicised that when the parking meters in a town in Wales broke down leading to free parking for all footfall and profits for retailers in the town centre rose by over 50%. Keep it free and keep your town centre alive and well. I hope you manage to achieve that – good luck.

  11. I live 7 or 8 miles from Sudbury and it is our local “Go To’ town. The free parking and relaxed atmosphere, free of wardens and traffic enforcers is what make Sudbury so popular. It will be a terrible retrograde step to bring in parking regulations and will carry no benefits – certainly none to us shoppers.

  12. Have always shopped and spent leisure time in Sudbury. Although living in Bury St. Edmund’s I often (x2weekly) pop into Sudbury when with family who live locally. Sudbury is a lovely town and so easy to pop along to as parking is free (3hours I know)

  13. Please preserve Sudbury’s free parking. It will kill the town commercially to introduce charges as it will put it on a par with Bury & Colchester with which it can’t compete in terms of quantity and selections of shops. Sudbury has a fabulous quality of shops & we want these traders to remain & their businesses not to suffer. If Sudbury charged for parking, I for one would take more of my custom to Hadleigh since I live virtually equidistant from the two (Lavenham): very nice shops & a cheaper-priced sports centre + free parking would make my daily swims considerably more economical than Sudbury.

  14. What about the school runs:- a lot of parents use the car parks during the school run, especially those with children at st.josephs as there is very limited parking outside the school, we do not want to have to pay car parking fees twice a day, every day, while droping off and picking up the children.

  15. If the free parking time is removed I for one will no longer use the town shops, there is not a great deal to be shopping there as it is I might as well go to Bury or Colchester, I can get all I need from supermarkets where there is free parking. I am sure this is the view of many. I love Sudbury town and like to walk around but am not willing to pay more than what is already taken from my pension

  16. I agree with all the comments shopping, visitors etc also there will be even more problems with street parking and clogging of the roads

  17. My wife and I also agree with the comments posted. We think that if Babergh Council withdraw the three hour free parking allowance the Town will decline further. The free parking concession is absolutely essential to attract shoppers and give Sudbury the opportunity to flourish again.
    A petition to Babergh would show the strength of opposition to their proposals.

  18. I opposed charging for short term parking in Sudbury. I currently park in Sudbury to do banking, go to the library and do shopping. I often visit some of the local shops. With the number of car parks and on street spaces it is seldom a problem to find somewhere to park. If there were to be a charge for parking I would rethink my schedule, would use the library in Long Melford and would not visit Sudbury as often.

  19. I cannot think of a more retrograde step for Sudbury. As somebody who lives midway between Colchester and Sudbury, I used to frequent Colchester until parking charges became so extortionate with a dying town centre. I now avoid Colchester as do many people I know. Sudbury’s free parking, small independent shops and ease of access makes for a pleasant shopping outing.
    Stopping free parking will kill Sudbury as it has Colchester. Please don’t make the mistake of going that way as it will be a death knell as has happened in so many other towns.

  20. I would not continue to shop in Sudbury if there was a charge for parking. Instead I’d use the Park and Ride to Colchester which is free of charge to me.

  21. Charging for parking is going to drive more people to out of town shopping, benefiting the out of town supermarkets and large chain stores. It is the small independent traders who go to make Sudbury and other small market towns a unique experience. I have already given up going into Colchester since the parking charging has changed from pay when you leave. On-line shopping will become even more cost effective once petrol and parking charges are taken into acount. This will be the death of small market towns, following on the heels of most of our villages that are now bereft of basic services.

  22. It shows how detached from the whole community Babergh District Council is, when it can even imagine that ending free parking in Sudbury is a good idea.
    1. Sudbury’s town centre is under threat and struggling, as are most town centres, from reduced visits and shop closures
    2. Charging visitors to park will only exacerbate the situation. Expect traders and businesses to get into trouble. Expect business closures. Expect reduced prosperity for the whole community.
    3. Babergh DC obviously doesn’t realise how people living in the area (BDC council tax payers, even) are attracted to visit, shop (and spend money) in Sudbury exactly because parking is free and available. Remove that advantage and Sudbury will lose that natural customer base. People can easily drive elsewhere.
    4. If Babergh councillors have any sense at all, they will reject this misguided proposal for the sake of Sudbury, its businesses and the entire local community.

  23. I am a working mum of two who lives 10 min drive from Sudbury. I drive in several times a week for shopping and kids after school clubs. One of the reasons why i stop and use the local shops and library in Sudbury is the ease of parking. I do not have to think about having the right change or spend time sorting out parking tickets every time i park which can sometimes be in a couple of different places around Sudbury on one visit. I do alot of shopping online as it is quick and easy and the delivery charge is often less than i’d pay in petrol so if charged parking is introduced in Sudbury i strongly believe it will kill the high street and encourage people to out of town shopping centres, if that is what you intend then go ahead otherwise please DO NOT make this change, it will be a big mistake.

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