Controversial parking tariff plans are set to be discussed today as a council's cabinet meet.

Parking in Sudbury, Hadleigh and Lavenham is currently free for three hours, but Babergh District Council announced it could no longer subsidise free parking as it faces a £6.7million budget gap.

It proposes an introduction of a £1 charge for short stay parking for the first hour or £1 for two hours in long stay parking, as well as a reduction in the cost of all day parking in Sudbury and Hadleigh from £3 to £2.50.

The plans will go before Babergh District Council's cabinet during a meeting on Monday, April 8 from 11am. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The plans will go before Babergh District Council's cabinetThe plans will go before Babergh District Council's cabinet (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown, Newsquest)

The proposal to introduce charges has been controversial in the communities affected, with district councillors and business owners sharing their concerns.

Ahead of the meeting Lavenham councillor Paul Clover, who previously said move could "kill retail" in the area, said: "All three local councils for Hadleigh, Lavenham and Sudbury have written to Babergh District Council expressing their concern over the impact these charges will have in disrupting both residents and business owner's lives many of whom's car is vital in enabling them to live in a rural environment.

East Anglian Daily Times:  Lavenham councillor Paul Clover Lavenham councillor Paul Clover (Image: BDC)

"The cabinet is neither listening to their residents or business owners, who supported the petition against these charges in their thousands. Nor do they appear to fully understand or care about the workings of local commerce.

"We are still being told that the charges will improve the quality of car parks, occupancy rates, air quality and introducing sustainable transport.

"These are being used as reasons in an attempt to justify the charges where in reality they are not serious issues."

Last week Kathryn Grandon, who represents Hadleigh South, said: "I just hope that the cabinet are not going to be blinkered.

"We have provided from the overview and scrutiny Committee 11 very sensible and not overly ambitious recommendations and some of them are compromises anyway, like the one hour free parking.

"If they don't consider that it makes a mockery of the consultation. The cabinet needs to demonstrate that they are in listening mode."

In March, a Babergh spokesperson said: "As we have said throughout this process, the council can no longer afford to subsidise free parking without risking cuts to other essential services, but we have been keen to find the best solution by seeking feedback from the town and parish councils affected, local organisations, and our own councillors. 

"We have also ensured our draft proposals received thorough scrutiny from the cross-party overview and scrutiny committee, ahead of recommendations going before cabinet for decision next month."