Council to look at car park time limit proposal for Swaffham

Swaffham.
Swaffham.

Plans to re-enforce time limits on stays in Swaffham town centre car parks are expected to move a step closer next week.

Breckland Council chiefs are set to consider plans for trial restrictions on three sites at a meeting on Tuesday.

But officials have so far resisted calls for a longer limit than initially proposed, despite calls from a town trader for it to be extended.

Last month, the district council announced it would enforce time limits on the Market Place, the Peddars car park and the Pit Lane site on a six month trial basis.

The move followed repeated demands for action to prevent motorists parking all day in breach of existing rules, including consideration of whether the town council itself should take over the management of the car parks.

It was initially thought that the trial would see the current two hour restrictions, which the district council said it had “no plans” to enforce two years ago, would be reinstated.

But, earlier this month, town councillors were urged to press for a longer three-hour restriction, when a letter was handed into them by town trader Jane Clark.

She argued that would be better for businesses and visitors alike.

However, although town council leaders said they would refer the request on to the district, the proposal recommended to the Breckland Council cabinet proposes no change to the current rules, except to allow three hours for disabled motorists who display a badge and disc in their vehicles.

Arrival and departure times would be recorded via the use of number plate recognition technology.

The proposals cover car parks in Swaffham and Attleborough, both of whose town councils have sought to address issues relating to a perceived lack of available space.

The report said: “The town councils’ objectives are to make more spaces available, resulting in an increased turnover of visitors to the market towns.

“By amending the Car Parking Orders and enforcing the restricted use of these town car parks, it should result in the increased use by visitors to the market towns.”

The trial, which is due to begin in the spring, is recommended to run for at least six months.

At that point, the district council will have to decide whether the new arrangements should be made permanent or scrapped.

However, the report said a further consultation period would have to take place if the rules were to be revoked.