Certain councillors made strenuous efforts during Tesco’s last planning application to get permission granted even though Morrisons had arrived and the economics showed what nonsense it was. Fortunately, an active campaign from residents and businesses scuppered that attempt to kill off the High Street –but by just one vote.
Now they want to remove the three-hour free parking from Hadleigh and Sudbury –a cornerstone benefit in shopping and eating in Hadleigh town. They plan to keep the first hour free but charge for anything more.
This appears to have significant support from councillors, some even asking to add residents’ parking restrictions on the surrounding roads (where they live). Of course, the plan includes free parking for staff at Babergh offices and free parking for councillors even when their meetings run over the hour.
These people seem to think that businesses can survive any restrictions that are applied. The campaign against the third supermarket should have made it abundantly clear that many shops were very close to closing and if the footfall hadn’t improved, we know this would have happened.
The work of the Hadleigh Steering Group, supported by Babergh, aims to promote Hadleigh, to encourage tourists and out-of-town shoppers to shop and eat in Hadleigh. This move would make that task unachievable. Losing High Street businesses will mean losing jobs and will discourage businesses from moving to Hadleigh.
This has been a perennial subject and every time it is pointed out that the move is against Babergh District Council Economic Development Plans, against Government support for businesses in market towns and is contrary to what David Cameron advocates.
The idiocy in the plan is that when you account for the cost in charging and policing the car park, very little extra income will go into the council’s coffers. Is this worth ruining the High Street for? Is this really a sound economic decision or a political manoeuvre?
Sadly the Chamber has no volunteers to run operational issue such as this, though the directors can spend some time helping out. First we need your views on the charging plans – do you agree or disagree and how will it affect your business? Next, do you want to meet to discuss how we handle this, run a campaign, link up with Sudbury (and possibly Stowmarket and Needham Market)?
Let you Councillor know how you feel about this. There is a Conservative Group meeting shortly so get you views in today!
Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and please indicate whether you would be willing to help should we decide to fight the plan.