Poll: Which option for car parking charges in Breckland do you support?
You are being asked to vote on three car parking charge options in Dereham – but Breckland Council said it could not guarantee it would implement the most popular.
The alternatives were unveiled at a series of public meetings asking residents which services the council should cut, reduce, charge for or maintain as it struggles to fill a projected �3m budget gap over five years.
Addressing about 70 members of the public at a meeting in Dereham last Thursday, council leader William Nunn said offering free parking across the district costs Breckland �300,000 a year.
He outlined three options: introducing an hourly fee to raise �300,000; charging after the first one or two hours to raise �150,000, or keeping it free at a cost of �300,000.
Permits or long-stay parking for people who work in Dereham are being considered.
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Speaking afterwards, Mr Nunn said the council might not chose the most popular course because it does not yet have information about the cost of introducing a charging regime, the level of charges or how much income they would raise.
He said: 'What we were hoping to do through the public meetings was to get a feeling for what people feel about it.'
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He added he would be opposed to any parking charges being used as a stealth tax in future, and favoured any surplus funding local projects in towns and villages.
Philip Morter, who runs Bennetts in Norwich Street, said: 'We have customers who come from Easton, Hingham, Attleborough and Wymondham. They come to market days, have lunch in town, do all their shopping and make a day of it because there's free parking, but they won't come if car parking charges are imposed.'
Residents can vote on www.breckland.gov.uk, by ordering a copy of the survey from 01362 656870, or at the last public meeting in Watton Queens Hall on Tuesday at 7pm. The deadline is October 5.