District’s parking price hikes to be reviewed after price rise complaints

Shirley Craner with fellow Bungay residents who are furious after the price of an annual season tick

Shirley Craner with fellow Bungay residents who are furious after the price of an annual season ticket at Wharton Street car park has soared from £150 to £650. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A council is to review changes to parking charges after some residents faced a 430pc price hike.

East Suffolk Council introduced the changes in August in a “cost-neutral” bid to scrap inconsistent parking charges in towns throughout the district.

However, while 70pc of prices were reduced or frozen, some towns were left facing a price hike of £500.

Now, the council’s scrutiny committee will review the changes following a suggestion from councillor Judy Cloke, who represents the Bungay and Wainford ward, to: “establish whether the introduction was consulted upon properly, whether the impact of a 430pc increase in charge to residents was considered acceptable, and whether or not the model for this introduction was based on flawed assumptions.”

The council inherited vastly differing parking tariffs around the district following the merger of Waveney district and Suffolk Coastal councils last year.

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A report prepared for councillors ahead of Monday evening’s meeting, November 16, notes a series of improvements following the change, which include the council’s partnership with police and other councils in the county, introduction of online portals for penalty charge notices and permits, and the configuration of the RingGo parking service app.

The latter is believed to have increased revenue by 158pc on 2019 by saving 33 vehicle loads of cash collection, equating to more than 2,600 miles.

Residents in Bungay protested in September after the price of an annual season ticket at the Wharton Street car park soared from £150 to £650.

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At the time, councillor Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport, said: “While we understand people in some locations may be disappointed by price rises for parking, we are entirely clear that our new tariffs are fair and reasonable for car users throughout the whole district and have been brought in with clear consideration for the three million occasions our car parks are used each year.

“We have made pricing simpler, removed a range of hugely different tariff structures and achieved this in a ‘cost-neutral’ way which will not raise any additional money for the council but will ensure fairness for all.”

Following the meeting, the committee will be able to make a recommendation to the council’s cabinet.

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