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Newmarket's car parks earned £607k last year for Forest Heath District Council

Cllrs Lance Stanbury and David Bowman demonstrate the new pay-by-card machines
Cllrs Lance Stanbury and David Bowman demonstrate the new pay-by-card machines

Newmarket’s car parks brought in over half a million pounds for the council last year.

Forest Heath District Council’s income from the town’s six car parks was £607,000, more than £25,000 more than expected.

The £1,663-a-day raised is used to maintain car parks across the district, including the free-to-use sites in Mildenhall, Brandon and Lakenheath.

A report to be discussed by district councillors tonight revealed that 720,083 tickets were bought by drivers, with wardens handing out 1,714 fines. The number of tickets sold had increased by 3.5 per cent compared to 2016, an extra 24,514.

But usage of the Rous Road car park rocketed by 12.7 per cent, a rise attributed to increased use by visitors to Palace House.

The report found that the most difficult time to park in one of the 953 spaces was on a racing Saturday at 11am, with just 145 slots free on average.

Forest Heath praised the success of its RingGo phone payment system but said it had this month replaced seven town centre parking meters – at a cost of £22,500 – with machines that accepted contactless card payments, so car park users would no longer have to worry about finding the right change or creating an account on a third party app.

Cllr David Bowman, cabinet member for operations, said: “We want to encourage people to use our car parks by making them easier to use. The council’s investment in these machines mean people will no longer need to worry about having the correct change.”

He said: “Use of town centre car parks is one of the barometers of how well a town is doing and the latest figures show a healthy picture.”

Cllr Lance Stanbury, cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “Newmarket is becoming increasingly popular with people using our car parks regularly to visit the town centre to shop, enjoy a bite to eat, to work and to visit our wonderful visitor attraction at the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art.”

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