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Discussions over one-hour free parking as town looks to raise £23,000

PUBLISHED: 13:30 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:13 01 February 2018

The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth, which allows shoppers to park for one hour for free. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth, which allows shoppers to park for one hour for free. Picture: Nick Butcher.

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Free parking in Halesworth could be secured for another year as the town council looks to raise the £23,000 needed to fund it.

The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth, which allows shoppers to park for one hour for free. Picture: Nick Butcher. The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth, which allows shoppers to park for one hour for free. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The one-hour free parking spaces at the Thoroughfare car park were reinstated in August 2016 after Halesworth town councillors fought Waveney District Council’s decision to remove free spaces and raise other parking fees across the district.

Following a council campaign, a residents’ petition and various alternative plans and ideas rejected, an agreement was made with the district council that £10,000 would be paid by the town to secure the free one-hour parking for that year, with the figure to be negotiated each year after that.

Last year the town council, supported by local businesses, nearby parish councils and district councillor Tony Goldson, raised a further £17,000 to ensure free parking continued until March 2018.

And with businesses and residents already donating towards the £23,000 needed to keep parking free again up to March 2019, the town council is confident it will continue.

The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth, which allows shoppers to park for one hour for free. Picture: Nick Butcher. The Thoroughfare car park in Halesworth, which allows shoppers to park for one hour for free. Picture: Nick Butcher.

A spokesman said: “The town council has made some alternative proposals to Waveney District Council which are currently being considered.

“The demand for the coming year is a significant increase over last year but the council is reasonably confident that this increased demand can be met. Contributions have already started to come in from existing contributors and also from some new ones.”

Council clerk Nick Rees said having the free hour parking encourages more shoppers to support the town’s independent traders.

He said: “We lost free parking for three months in 2016 and it made a huge difference to the town and the footfall.

“We’ve already had donations from some businesses and we’ve had a few members of the public who have dropped in donations too which is very welcome.”

Anyone who would like to contribute can send a cheque to Halesworth Town Council, London Road, Halesworth, IP19 8LW. The money will be ring-fenced for adding to the free hour fund and not spent on anything else.

• What do you think? Should every town offer free parking for an hour to its visitors? Email bbj.letters@archant.co.uk or write to the address on page 31.

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