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Downham Market town councillors debate future of its car parks

Councillors in Downham debated the future of its car parks, raising the question whether they should be managed by the council.

Currently, it’s free to park in the town’s car parks which include popular ones The Hollies, Paradise Road, the Town Hall and Priory Road, with no set time limit.

Five years had passed since Downham’s Town Council last discussed what to do with its car parks.

The Hollies car park in Downham is free to park on. Picture: Google Maps
The Hollies car park in Downham is free to park on. Picture: Google Maps

Many councillors voiced their concerns about the future of parking in the town, some saying it should remain free, while others shared concerns about vehicles occupying spaces for a prolonged period of time.

The council were asked if they wanted to take back control of its car parks, which started a debate on whether they should have a time limit introduced or become paid for.

Cllr Eve Tawfick said that charging people to pay to park would make the town less accessible.

Cllr Tony Leach added: “People who work in the town shouldn’t have to pay to work in the town, it’s like an income tax if we charge for parking. I’m definitely against it.”

However, Cllr David Sharman said: “If we take charge of our car parks, we can dictate what happens to them, it doesn’t mean we have to charge for them.”

Cllr Sharman explained that there is nothing they can do at the moment to move a vehicle, and gave an example if somebody parks overnight on the Town Hall car park, it may disrupt setting up the market the following morning.

Cllr Jacqueline Westrop pointed out during the meeting that if the town council take back control of car parks in Downham, “charging isn’t the only option”.

A total of 11 councillors voted in favour of the car parks being managed, and a working party has been formed with select councillors to come up with suggestions.

It was decided that the council would vote on other parking matters put to them during a meeting at a later date such as which car parks will be managed and if funding should come from the precept or from service users.

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