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Anger from business leader as Newmarket's parking charges set to rise

A Newmarket business leader has slammed a district council’s proposal to raise parking prices by as much as 100 per cent.

West Suffolk Council has recommended increases at all its town car parks, with the cabinet set to approve plans tonight.

If passed, the Guineas Shopping Centre’s three-hour rate will double from £1 to £2 and its two-hour rate is set to go up to £1.

Market Square car park in Newmarket (28919588)
Market Square car park in Newmarket (28919588)

There will be similar increases across Newmarket with charges at All Saints’, Grosvenor Yard and St Mary’s car parks all being set at £1 for two hours, £1.50 for three hours, £3 daily and £10 weekly.

In the Market Square, the choice for drivers will be £1 for an hour or £1.50 for three hours, while in Rous Road parking will cost £1 for three hours and £2.50 for four hours with no short term parking.

The Guineas car park in Newmarket (28919590)
The Guineas car park in Newmarket (28919590)

Paul Brown, the town’s business improvement district manager, has hit out at the proposals.

“At a time when retail has had its worst trading figures ever, West Suffolk Council believes it’s a good idea to increase parking charges in Newmarket,” he said. “In the current climate parking should stay the same or revert to being free.

“We have Ely just down the road and they have no parking charges. We are happy to sit down with the council and work out a better way forward that helps our members rather than making life harder.”

Other proposals would see tariff periods extended to between 8am and 6pm, the Guineas could become a short-stay only car park, and free parking from 3pm one day a week could be introduced.

The district will also recommend to Suffolk County Council it introduce a £1 charge for parking on the High Street for an hour,

The council is also set to resurface All Saints’, Market Square and Grosvenor Yard car parks.

Cllr Peter Stevens, cabinet member for operations in the district, defended the price rise, the first for four years, and said the proposals included investment in parking and local services.

“Car parking tariffs are a mechanism for managing demand including the availability and turnover of spaces to support the town centre economy.

“It is not just the price of parking that attracts people to a town centre, it is the things the town centre has to offer including retail, cafés, restaurants, leisure and culture, heritage, markets and events including those run by the BID.”

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