Time limit trial to be introduced in town centre car parks
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A town's economy could be in line for a boost with the introduction of time limits at several well-used car parks.
From Monday, August 19, drivers in Swaffham will be limited to parking for a maximum of two hours at Market Place, Pedlars and Pit Lane car parks. Theatre Street is not involved in the trial.
The Breckland Council-owned facilities will remain free to use for two hours, with no return within one hour, but drivers must display a ticket.
Those who exceed the two-hour limit will be liable to pay a fixed penalty notice.
Simon Humphries, manager at the town's Norfolk Hospice Charity Shop, believes imposing a time limit will have a mixed effect.
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"I think it's going to be swings and roundabouts," said Mr Humphries. "My initial concern is that it might drive business away from the area.
"A lot of these ideas also revolve around trying to reduce the number of cars in town, but ultimately that just kills retail."
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"On the other hand, a lot of people park in town all day and go off into Norwich. Some spaces are always full but they obviously aren't shopping in Swaffham, so it will prevent that."
Serena Carter, who works at the nearby Impson Butchers, added: "I'm hoping it will bring more people into the town because a wider variety of visitors will be able to park.
"It's a good idea but it remains to be seen whether it will work."
Introduction of the enforced limits follows a proposal by Swaffham Town Council, who hope to encourage more people into the town and boost local businesses.
The move will also make parking in the town more consistent as on-street parking in the area already has time limit restrictions.
Paul Hewett, Breckland's executive member for contracts and assets, said: "We agreed to introduce time limits at these car parks in a bid to release spaces throughout the day and encourage more people to visit and shop.
"This will be good news for local businesses and just one of the ways we are supporting our market towns to thrive as part of our Market Towns Initiative.
"The new approach will be introduced on a six-month trial basis and we will assess the impact after that."