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Harleston parking wrangle nearing end?

PUBLISHED: 10:31 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 12 July 2010

A lengthy wrangle over proposed parking charges for a rural market town appeared to be reaching an end yesterday.

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said that while there were some details to be sorted out, an agreement had been made with Harleston, where campaigners have been fighting hard to keep free parking in the town.

A lengthy wrangle over proposed parking charges for a rural market town appeared to be reaching an end yesterday.

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said that while there were some details to be sorted out, an agreement had been made with Harleston, where campaigners have been fighting hard to keep free parking in the town. He said the town council had agreed to lease the town's car parks, with the district council remaining as the owner.

But last night Sue Kuzmic, chairman of the town council, said no firm decisions had been made. She said: “We are investigating the option of leasing the car parks. That is our preferred option but nothing is concrete. This would have financial implications and we would want to make sure it is right for our residents.”

Mr Fuller said he believed there was an end in sight. “In Harleston there are still some details to be sorted out, but having waited six months to come to the table we came to an agreement within an hour,” he said. “The town council has agreed to lease the car parks and take responsibility for them. This option has been available from the outset, but at the 11th hour, the agreement was reached.”

He added: “We approached this on the basis that the council's costs should be covered and I am pleased to say we have reached a formula with Harleston that covers the cost, with the town council taking a lease.”

South Norfolk Council, as the owner, will proceed with the upgrade and refurbishment of the car parks.”

A proposed scale of car-parking charges for Diss was also agreed in principle by town councillors on Wednesday night.

It was agreed that there would be no distinction between long-stay and short-stay car parks, with all the town's car parks considered short stay. There would be one hour of free parking, with one to two hours costing £1, two to three hours costing £1.50, three to four hours costing £2 and four hours and over costing £3.

Town and district councillor Tony Palmer said: “Nobody likes paying fees but if we don't have them we will end up with congestion. The idea is that the car parks break even. It is not about making money from them. On-street parking will not be affected and people will still be able to park free for an hour.”

Residents and traders erupted with anger after it emerged in March that the district council had come up with proposals which could see fees of up to £5 a day being imposed at car parks in Harleston, Loddon, Diss and Wymondham. At Loddon the town council has reached agreement with the district council to have two hours' free parking. Wymondham town clerk Trevor Gurney said yesterday: “We have written to South Norfolk Council explaining that we wish to retain the status quo. We do not want anything to change. Since communicating that we have had no further corres-pondence or contact from them.”

The proposals are due to be discussed at South Norfolk Council's annual meeting on Monday.

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