Date set for parish poll on the future of Harleston’s car parks

MDEP-16-11-2016-028 Broad Street Car Park Harleston
MDEP-16-11-2016-028 Broad Street Car Park Harleston

A parish poll on the future of Harleston’s car parking will occur within weeks.

Three options, along with supplementary background information on the costs to the council, will be put to residents.

A potential upcoming by-election for a councillor position means the vote has been brought forward, to avoid entering a potential purdah period.

It will take place at Harleston Leisure Centre on Thursday, September 7, from 4pm to 9pm.

It will be run independently of the council, but the vote is advisory, not mandatory. Postal voting will not be available.

It was at a single-issue meeting last Wednesday when the deadline over the decision on the future of the town’s car parks was extended to the end of October.

Residents will be given a vote over their preferred option – one hour of free parking, two hours of free parking, or whether they want the council to negotiate a new long-term lease.

Parking has been free at the point of use in the town’s two car parks, in Bullock Fair Close and Broad Street, with the town council paying £17,156 in a lease agreement with the district authority. This has been made up in the past year by 77 per cent from the town council, 15 per cent from businesses, and eight per cent from surround parishes

But there was outcry in the town from councillors, residents and businesses after South Norfolk Council unveiled a proposal to take back control of the car parks, and implement charges later this year.

South Norfolk Council says it would bring Harleston’s car parks in line with others in the district, and increase turnover of spaces.