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Flexi-Park trial offers greater choice to town centre visitors...

Flexi-Park trial offers greater choice to town centre visitors

 

Flexible parking designed to give people greater choice and support town centre businesses is to be trialled in Bury St Edmunds from next month.

 

The new form of pay on exit car parking, called Flexi-Park will be piloted in St Andrews Street car park from 11 June. West Suffolk Council has been working with OurBuryStEdmunds Business Improvement District to shape the scheme which is now subject to notice of a legal order.

 

Mark Walsh, West Suffolk Council’s assistant director for Operations said: “Bury St Edmunds is a visitor destination with people coming not just to shop, but to enjoy heritage, leisure and cultural attractions including the Abbey Gardens, Cathedral, The Apex, Theatre Royal, cafes, restaurants and more. Flexi-Park gives town centre visitors greater choice about how long they park for.”

 

People will be able to park for £1 an hour for the first six hours after which they will pay a whole day charge of £10. If they stay overnight a £1 evening charge will apply from 6pm. That means they can come to Bury St Edmunds shop, eat out, and go to see a performance at The Apex or Theatre Royal knowing the absolute maximum they will pay is £11. Short stay and long stay parking tariffs will remain available and the Council will continue to monitor use to ensure there is a turnover of spaces so that people can still find somewhere to park when visiting the town centre. Should this trial prove successful it will look at rolling Flexi-Park out to other car parks across West Suffolk.

 

Mr Walsh said: “The pilot scheme is being introduced partly in response to concerns raised by businesses through the Business improvement District OurBuryStEdmunds that they are missing out on trade due to visitors hurrying back to their cars before their ticket expires. Flexi-Park overcomes this. We can’t control whether somebody choses to visit a shop to buy an item as opposed to ordering it online, but we can seek to encourage people to shop local, visit the town centre more often and spend more through providing the option of staying longer in our more convenient car parks.”

 

Mark Cordell, Chief Executive of OurBuryStEdmunds said: “On behalf of our members the BID has been lobbying for a number of years for a Pay on Exit offer to be available in the town centre. We are absolutely delighted that West Suffolk Council have agreed to run a trial scheme. We want visitors to the town to able to be flexible regarding how long they stay parked in the town centre and this new scheme provides this opportunity. Our members believe this flexibility will enable visitors to their businesses to stay longer in the town and I am hopeful that this car park will be very busy during the trial period.”

 

The scheme is cashless which means that people aren’t restricted by how much change they have in their pocket, while it also recognises that we are increasingly becoming a cashless society. Cashless payments also have significant cost and operational benefits to the Council freeing up staff time for greater enforcement, eventually including Civil Parking Enforcement, which again supports local residents and businesses.

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