The leader of St Edmundsbury Council has hit back at claims that offering free parking in Haverhill from 3pm for every day of the two weeks before Christmas is a ‘token effort.’
This week the borough announced the parking offer would run every day from December 11 to 24, but Cllr Tony Brown, speaking as the leader of the Haverhill UKIP group, said the council should be doing more.
He said: “Whilst we in the Haverhill UKIP group support the Free after 3pm parking initiative in Haverhill it is too little to make any significant difference to the residents or shops and seems to be no more than a token effort by the Borough council as compared to the amount of energy that has gone into improving the Christmas shopping experience in Bury.
“We would like to see some real support to Haverhill traders and shopkeepers by having all Haverhill town centre car parks free to all users from Saturday December 19 right up until Christmas.”
Cllr John Griffiths, the borough council leader, said: “I’m really rather sorry that Tony Brown and his UKIP colleagues regards this initiative by St Edmundsbury to support both residents of, and visitors to, Haverhill - as well as the local traders and shops there - as a ‘token’.”
Cllr Griffiths emphasised that half of the council’s funding has been halved by central Government, adding: “Despite this we are doing our very best to help the traders and people of Haverhill (and the surrounding area) in the run up to Christmas and introducing much more free parking there than we are able to do for example in Bury.
“A little more support for this - not to mention Christmas spirit – from UKIP in Haverhill would be welcome.”
The parking offer follows a successful pilot scheme of ‘Free from 3’ parking during the two weeks leading up to Christmas last year.
The “Free from 3” Christmas scheme was introduced last year following discussions with the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber Chairman Paul Donno said: “I am delighted that Free from 3 parking is being extended to include every day from next Friday (11) through to Christmas.
“St Edmundsbury is once again showing it support to town traders during this important time of the year.
“It is my hope that the people of Haverhill and the surrounding villages will get behind the scheme, make the most of the shops, businesses and market stalls that we have in this great town, and put their cash in the tills so that we can all enjoy a very merry Christmas.”
The Free from 3 offer will apply to the Ehringshausen Way, Lower Down Slade, Town Hall, Leisure Centre, and The Meadows car parks.