Proposals for better parking in South Norfolk to go before cabinet — but prices in Diss may rise

Parking proposals to go before South Norfolk Council cabinet
Parking proposals to go before South Norfolk Council cabinet
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Councillors are set to consider a new strategy to improve parking in south Norfolk — but it could see an increase in charges in Diss.

Proposals set to go before South Norfolk councillors on Monday could mean the most expensive parking in the town would rise from £3 to £5, should they be passed.

South Norfolk Council is responsible for 17 off-street car parks across five locations — Diss, Long Stratton, Harleston, Loddon and Wymondham — 987 spaces overall.

Proposed new tariffs hope to strike “an effective balance”, which would see short and long stay provision implemented to better suit the needs of its users.

A council report says the authority aims to “continue to improve the quality of car parking service provision for residents, visitors and businesses, ensure it is fit for purpose, achieves financial sustainability” as well as “enhancing the overall economic vitality of the market towns.”

It says accessible high streets are a vital part of improving the local economy. Diss has eight car parks, with 393 spaces. There are two in Harleston with 196 spaces, and one in Long Stratton with 58 spaces, which are currently free of charge. Long Stratton would not be affected, as a rental agreement is currently in place with the Co-op until 2067.

Harleston also enjoys free parking. The town council pays South Norfolk Council a yearly fee, recently renewed until October 2017 at a cost of £17,156, to keep parking free of charge.

In the majority of car parks, the first hour is free, with the most expensive charge being £3 for more than four hours.

In the short stay shoppers car parks, the first hour would remain free, but the highest charge would be £5, for three to four hours. A new maximum stay would be four hours.

For long stay car parks the first hour would also remain free, with charges up to a maximum of £4 for all day parking. It is also proposed to increase annual season tickets from £240 to £300, and then annually by five per cent over the next five years.

The report said that in 2014/15, the deficit to the council to provide parking services was £24,054. Tickets sales, rental and recovery income generated £319,042, but direct costs, salaries, and maintenance totalled £343,096. The new plans would see a £65,388 surplus.