District authority says Harleston car parks are not for sale

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

South Norfolk Council says the car parks in Harleston are not for sale as residents prepare to have their say on their future.

Car parking has been free at the point of use for motorists at facilities in Bullock Fair Close and Broad Street, with the town council paying a £17,156 lease agreement. But South Norfolk Council – which says the “significant” remaining costs of the town’s car parking facilities are being picked up by the district’s council tax payers – want to bring them in line with others market towns, and implement charges. It says this would help support local businesses by discouraging people from parking all day and blocking up potential spaces for shoppers.

It has been suggested that the town council should buy the car parks, but that option is not open to the town council as the car parks are not for sale

Lee Hornby, cabinet member, South Norfolk Council

An advisory vote in the form of a parish poll will be held on Thursday, September 7, from 4pm to 9pm, at the town’s leisure centre.

It will ask voters which option from three they believe Redenhall with Harleston Town Council should opt for.

At recent meetings, and in a letter published in Friday’s Diss Express, some residents have mooted the possibility of the council purchasing the car parks from the district authority.

But Lee Hornby, cabinet member at South Norfolk Council, said it was not on the table – and the car parks are not for sale.

“In reality there is no such thing as free parking. There is always a cost to be paid and what the town council has to decide is who pays that cost,” he said.“The people who drive into Harleston or the old age pensioner who walks to the shops.

“Surveys have shown that 84 per cent of people who shop in Harleston stay for less than two hours and although it’s for the town council to decide, the two hour option might be the way forward, especially if the Co-op can be persuaded to help with the cost.

“It has been suggested that the town council should buy the car parks, but that option is not open to the town council as the car parks are not for sale.”