Southwold Town Council reveals vision to resolve town’s parking issues
- Credit: James Bass
Local councils and authorities have come together to try and resolve the parking problems that have come to plague a seaside town.
Southwold currently has no distinct parking strategy, leading to concerns about congestion and the town's inability to fulfil its economic potential, as well as widespread inconvenience for residents, workers, shoppers and the elderly.
Southwold Town Council outlined in 2016 that improving parking accessibility is key to their vision for the town's future, and believe the lack of a coordinated plan jeopardises their ambitions.
Against this background, Southwold Town Council, Southwold Common Trust, Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council and Suffolk Police Authority have been trying to get a better understanding of the problems and potentially viable solutions.
A spokesman for Southwold Town Council said: 'Parking close to the centre of town does not turnover frequently enough, which is detrimental to the economy of local businesses.
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'Signage is also poor, causing visitors to drive around the town to find a suitable place to park.
'Parking is a sensitive issue and we won't please everybody, but we are determined to achieve better management of parking in the town.'
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The list of options proposed by Southwold Town Council include:
• Improved road signs showing car park locations and amenities, as well as the possibility of a real-time indicator showing space availability.
• Smart meters in paid car parks that allow drivers to book in advance via phone.
• Encouraging holiday letting agencies to include maps in brochures showing car park locations.
• A tiered parking charge structure with lower rates for long stay out-of-town car parks and higher charges for short stay car parks nearer the town centre. This would require agreement between the owners of various car parks.
• A roadside permit system for residents - those who qualify may be permitted to park in nominated roadside spaces.
• Potential introduction of parking charges for Godyll Road car park and for verge-side parking on Gardner Road and York Road.
• Out-of-town park and ride service and/or a shuttle bus between town centre and peripheral long stay car parks.
The council said discussions between the relevant stakeholders are continuing, as well as engagement with residents and visitors to Southwold.
The town council welcomes community feedback, which can be sent to the town clerk by post or via firstname.lastname@example.org.