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Busy car parks to trial two-hour limit to cut town centre congestion

PUBLISHED: 15:21 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:21 11 January 2018

Swaffham town centre. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Swaffham town centre. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

© Archant Norfolk 2013

A two-hour limit could be trialled at car parks in a bid to cut town centre congestion and free up spaces for shoppers.

Attleborough town centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Attleborough town centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Swaffham’s Market Place, Pedlars and Pit Lane car parks are often full of vehicles, as is Attleborough’s Queen’s Square car park.

Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner said: “The problem at the moment is that we have people who park there all day. Some people even park and go off to King’s Lynn. If people can’t find a space, they will go straight through the town.”

That, she believes, costs firms revenue from people who cannot find a place to park. She believes a two-hour limit will “improve the flow of traffic in the town centre” and “will help people popping in for a couple of hours”.

A Breckland Council report added: “It is anticipated that the amended parking hours will free up parking spaces within the centre of town, thereby encouraging visitors to use this car park which should increase footfall in support of businesses.”

Swaffham town centre. Picture: MATTHEW USHER Swaffham town centre. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

However Mrs Skinner stressed Breckland Council is only consulting at the moment.

Even if it gets a positive response in a consultation which runs until Monday, January 29, it will be only be trialled at Market Place, Pedlars and Pit Lane in Swaffham - as well as Queen’s Square, Attleborough - for six months to see if it works.

However if that is deemed to be successful, Breckland Council will see whether similar trials could work in Thetford and Dereham.

The six-month trials were agreed in principle by Breckland Council’s cabinet last year at the request of Attleborough and Swaffham town councils.

Attleborough town centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Attleborough town centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Paul Claussen, Breckland Council’s executive member for place, said: “These trials are part of a wider initiative to help our market towns develop and thrive.

“We are working closely with town councils and businesses on a range of initiatives to help address the key issues they have identified and bring more people into the town centres.”

The restrictions would apply between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday, with cars not allowed to return within an hour.

The limit would be three hours for disabled people. Places for stall-holders will not be affected.

Full details of the proposed new restrictions are at www.breckland.gov.uk/parking-orders-consultation

Comments should be sent to facilities@breckland.gov.uk

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