Liberal Democrat Proposal on Free Parking

11 Mar 2024
Parking sign



A few weeks ago we drew attention to the cuts in services being caused by the massive reduction in real terms of money given to local government by central government. A number of local authorities have been forced to declare bankruptcy with a forecast that more will follow - It must be election time! - Babergh Liberal Democrats (


The shortfall in funding at Babergh Council has been closed this year by a mix of economies and taking money from reserves put aside to cover unforeseen demands in the future. You cant spend these reserves twice so in effect the budget deferred hard decisions for the following year.


One controversial proposal to help close the gap has been to introduce charges on council car parks in Hadleigh, Sudbury and Lavenham but this has run into fierce opposition from local businesses who fear it will reduce visit numbers.


The Council has been running a consultation on the proposal but has failed to treat electors as adults by giving us a choice of alternative ways of making savings if free parking is maintained.


Liberal Democrat councillor Lee Parker has another idea which might preserve free parking. He wants them run as not for profit Community Interest Companies run by Boards consisting of local businesses and town and district councillors. 


The more favourable tax position of CIC's might mean that the £300K business rates liability can be substantially reduced, if not eliminated altogether, something that Lee is keen that Officers should investigate.


Lee's proposals have received wide coverage in the Suffolk News publication see Sudbury, Hadleigh and Lavenham car parks could be run on a ‘community interest basis’ to potentially save free parking, it has been suggested ( and have generally received a positive response from local businesses


Still a lot of work to do but at last a positive proposal on a way forward which would address the concerns of local people

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