Harleston residents to vote on car parking charges in their town

Harleston town centre.

Harleston town centre. - Credit: Archant

Residents of a South Norfolk market town will finally be deciding on the fate of two of their car parks with a vote.

Residents of a South Norfolk market town will finally be given the chance to decide on the fate of two of their car parks.

People living in Harleston were invited to a meeting last night to decide the way forward on car parking charges in the town.

To date parking has always been free in Harleston although residents have contributed to costs through council tax.

But since 2007 Redenhall with Harleston Town Council has been locked in a dispute with South Norfolk Council (SNC) about charging for parking.

Councillors from SNC and the town council met with residents last night and it was decided the decision should go to a vote.

Councillor Barry Woods said: ' In the interests of fairness the town council has decided to consult with all the residents of Harleston as soon as 'possible.

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'The next step is to get the information together and put the options forward to residents.

'It is important for every voting resident to have their say on where the council goes from here.'

The first option is SNC takes control of both car parks and brings in charges with the first hour free.

The second choice is SNC takes control of the car parks, and the town council funds the second free hour.

And the third possibility would be the town council takes over the whole lease at a higher cost.

Until now the town council has been leasing Broad Street and Bullock Fair Close car parks from the district council at a cost of £ 17,156 each year.

But this will no longer be the case after August as South Norfolk Council say the subsidised lease is not longer viable and all market towns should be treated equally.

If the town council wants to keep its free car parks, it would face a £50,000 per year charge - more than double what it currently pays.

Its alternative is to pay a £15,700 annual charge but only be able to offer motorists two hours of free parking.

A spokesman for SNC said: 'South Norfolk Council is working with the town council to achieve the best possible outcome for the residents and businesses of Harleston.'