Stay longer and enjoy Bury St Edmunds
17 Jun 2019
People visiting Bury St Edmunds town centre are being helped to stay longer and spend more with the trial of a new scheme.
While West Suffolk Council will continue to provide short and long stay car parking, Flexi-Park provides people with the choice to pay when leave rather than be restricted by how much change they have or trying to estimate how long they are likely to be.
Leader of West Suffolk Council, Cllr John Griffiths said: “We continue to invest in, shape and support our town centres not just as a place of retail but of work, leisure, culture, heritage and as a place to live. We work closely with town centre partners not least OurBuryStEdmunds Business Improvement District (BID) which represents the voice of hundreds of businesses in the town centre. We have listened to their concerns that some businesses feel they are missing out on trade because visitors are hurrying back to their car before their ticket expires. This pilot scheme aims to overcome this and demonstrates our ongoing commitment not only to working with our town centre partners but also to supporting local businesses.”
Cllr Susan Glossop, Cabinet Member for Growth at West Suffolk Council said: “We recognise that it is a challenging time for some of our retailers who are having to adapt to people’s changing shopping patterns. We can’t stop people from ordering online but we can ensure that Bury St Edmunds is a place where people continue to want to come to by making sure it is beautiful, pleasant and interesting. People enjoy coming to Bury St Edmunds for our strong offer of independent shops, high street names and our lovely markets. They come to go for a meal in our lovely restaurants, meet for coffee, and enjoy lots of great attractions including the Abbey Gardens, the Cathedral, The Apex, the Theatre Royal, plus the events put on by the Council, by OurBuryStEdmunds and others. Flexi-Park provides another way for people to stay and enjoy the town and all that it has to offer.”
Cllr Peter Stevens is Cabinet Member for Operations which is responsible for Parking. He said: “Flexi-Park is about greater choice. People can still park in our long or short stay car parks but Flexi-Park meets the needs of people who may not have been to our town before, or who simply don’t know how long they want to stay. It is a trial that the Council will continue to monitor to ensure there is the turnover of spaces so that people aren’t put off by not being able to find somewhere to park when visiting the town centre. If successful we will look at the potential for rolling out Flexi-Park to some of our other car parks across West Suffolk. The scheme is cashless which means that people aren’t restricted by how much change they have in their pocket. That in turn also has a significant cost and operational benefit to the Council freeing up staff time for greater enforcement, eventually to include Civil Parking Enforcement which again supports local residents and businesses.”
Andrew Speed, Chairman of OurBuryStEdmunds Business Improvement District said: “We are delighted that OurBuryStEdmunds has been able to work with West Suffolk Council to introduce this flexible form of parking. We have been encouraging the Council to introduce Pay on Exit parking for several years and believe it will give shoppers and visitors a real choice, enabling them to stay longer to enjoy our town, and potentially to spend more with our businesses.”
Sue Warren, Brand and Marketing Manager for Bury St Edmunds and Beyond said: “Bury St Edmunds continues to grow as a visitor destination, both for those staying for several days and for day trippers. Flexi-Park gives our visitors the flexibility to stay in the town centre and explore for as long as they want and pay when they leave. I am pleased that the Council and OurBuryStEdmunds have been able to introduce this trial scheme and believe it will be a great success.”
Flex-Park will cost £1 an hour for the first six hours after which a whole day charge of £10 will apply. If a driver stays overnight a £1 overnight charge will apply from 6pm.