Residents, businesses, and visitors are being invited to have their say on Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s parking strategy for the next 20 years – with roadshow drop-in events starting next week.
Whether in car parks, outside our homes, on the high street, or at local tourist hotspots, few subjects evoke as much passion as parking. But the councils hope that the next round of public consultation for their parking strategy will help find the balance between supporting town centre trade and achieving climate change and sustainable travel goals.
A fresh online survey is seeking views on the recommended actions to be included in the strategy, before its expected to be finalised this Autumn. It can be completed via the councils’ website at www.babergh.gov.uk/parkingstrategy and www.midsuffolk.gov.uk/parkingstrategy until July 31. Anyone without internet access can call 02392 432756 to request a paper copy.
The recommended actions are as a result of extensive consultation last summer. This included a survey asking people to share their parking experiences both in the districts and further afield, as well as discussions with councillors, town and parish councils, and local interest groups, among others.
As well as the online survey, people can share their views in person by attending one of the councils’ ‘parking roadshow’ drop-in sessions. They are being held at numerous locations across the districts from next Tuesday (June 21) to the following Tuesday, June 28.
In Babergh events are being held in Holbrook, East Bergholt, Hadleigh, Sudbury, Long Melford, and Lavenham.
In Mid Suffolk locations include Thurston, Woolpit, Stowmarket, Needham Market, Great Blakenham, Debenham, and Eye.
A full list of venues and session dates can be found via the councils’ website at www.babergh.gov.uk/parkingstrategy
They have been specifically chosen so that no one should need to drive, or take alternative transport where possible, for more than 20 minutes to attend, should they wish.
Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “I’m delighted we’ve now reached the second phase of consultation on our parking strategy and would encourage everyone who can, whether they drive or not, to share their views. Our aim is to have a parking strategy that is fit for the future, so our district can continue to thrive and be a place people are proud to call home. We must ensure shoppers, tourists, visitors, residents, workers, and commuters have access to sufficient, good quality, safe, welcoming and easy-to-use parking.
“Of course, the parking strategy will also reflect both the need for private vehicle parking and our climate change ambitions, and support more sustainable transport options such as buses, trains, and cycling, to connect our communities.”
Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, added: “The right level and types of car parking facilities, and the right controls for their use, are vital if our communities are to continue to thrive. This includes helping to support our environment by providing opportunities to shift motorist behaviour towards more sustainable travel – improving air quality and biodiversity, and reducing CO2 emissions from congestion. However, we must balance this with the development and regeneration visions of our towns.
“I encourage everyone in Babergh to have their say in this next phase of consultation, with feedback playing a vital role in helping to create a strategy that keeps Babergh a place we’re all proud to call home.”
The final strategy will build on the councils’ Joint Area Parking Management Plan, and the car parking study report for Babergh, which highlighted the increasing need for a medium to long term parking strategy.
It will also reflect the councils’ Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan – supporting sustainable travel and wayfinding improvements as part of town visions.