Workers criticise parking overhaul designed to help shoppers

A time limit could be introduced at Queen's Square Car Park in Attleborough to boost trade in the to

A new trial will see unlimited free parking at Queen's Square Car Park reduced to three hours. - Credit: Archant

Plans to overhaul the rules in a car park which councillors say is being "abused" by motorists have been criticised by locals.

Breckland District Council wants to change the restrictions at Queen's Square Car Park in Attleborough, to make it easier for shoppers to visit the town.

The changes - which are being brought in for a five month trial period - will see the end of unlimited free parking, with a three hour restriction imposed.

They are being introduced amid fears from council leaders that the car park was being "abused" by people leaving their vehicles in the prime spot near the town centre for days on end, while commuters were using the free car park before travelling on to Norwich by bus or train.

A time limit could be introduced at Queen's Square Car Park in Attleborough to boost trade in the to

A new trial will see unlimited free parking at Queen's Square Car Park limited to three hours. - Credit: Archant

Last month, Breckland Council - which owns the car park - expressed concern that this meant the numbers of shoppers able to visit the town was being restricted and that shops and facilities were suffering. 

However, the changes have in turn been criticised by commuters and workers, who will no longer be able to use the car park for long-stay.

Breckland Council, which is running the trial in partnership with Attleborough Town Council, said it hopes the new restrictions will "increase high street footfall and boost trade for local retailers".

Under the new trial - which will run from March 21 to August 21 - the authority will introduce a free three-hour stay, with no return within one hour, between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday.

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Allowances will be made for market traders using market bays on Thursdays.

Paul Hewett, Breckland’s executive member for property and projects, said the scheme could help "develop a churn in spaces in the car park".

A time limit could be introduced at Queen's Square Car Park in Attleborough to boost trade in the to

A new trial will see unlimited free parking at Queen's Square Car Park limited to three hours. - Credit: Archant

But one worker said there was some concern over the "fallout and displacement of where workers will park".

Another person - who works in the town centre and uses the car park - said: "There is no mention of an intention to prevent town centre workers from parking in the Queen's Square Car Park, but as a result of restricting parking to three hours only, this will be the effect."

She added that other potential options could be considered, such as dividing the car park into zones and issuing permits to Attleborough employees who travel in.

At the end of the trial, the enforced time-limit will be reviewed, and a final decision will then be made on whether to make this change permanent.

A council spokesman said: "We recognise that those working in the town centre may need to park for longer and therefore we will next consider a proposal to create enforceable limited long-stay parking at Breckland's other car parks. Private car parks are also available, including at Attleborough Train Station."

For more information visit www.breckland.gov.uk/attleborough-car-park-trial