Ipswich Myths Debunked: Town Car Parking Is Too Expensive!

Discussion in 'Central Ipswich' started by dan5, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

    Paul Geater posted another one of his provocative articles to stir up Ipswich residents dislike for the declining town centre. He questioned whether Ipswich could thrive with out-of-town retail... like it is a new concept!

    In the comments which can easily turn into a free-for-all of kicking Ipswich town centre while it is down... a common "Ipswich cliche" (or Ipswich myth if you prefer) is widely circulated...

    Ipswich Myth 1: "Car parks are too expensive"

    (This largely feeds off my pet hate for the modern day culture of everyone wanting something everything for nothing.)

    Indeed, retail parks are free to park at (well within allocated parameters... many now fine you excessively for overstaying a 2 hour (or so) window). Get stung by this and it could cover many trips to the town centre.

    Looking through facebook comments (it was good to see a good number of people defending Ipswich, including saying the borough's car parks are cheap) on Ipswich Star's facebook page, it is clear there was a caveat from many:-
    • Emphasis on convenience... along the lines of "Buttermarket Car Park is expensive".... just one example. Other car parks exist in non-prime spots which you may have to walk a few minutes to get where you need to go.
    • Emphasis on quality... along the lines of "no decent shops left" just another example. Thus don't think it is worth paying money to park in town.
    • Emphasis on hassle... along the lines of "it is a nightmare getting into town" a further example. Travel Ipswich is surely not going to help.
    • Emphasis on contradiction... along the lines of "instead I shop at Bury St Edmunds/Norwich/Cambridge/Woodbridge/Colchester/Felixstowe"... all of which will cost more in the cost of fuel (even if the parking is cheaper when you get there) or for the train, than the actual parking ticket.
    "I cannot justify paying as much for parking for the retail offer/experience"

    What people actually mean (which is why they fall under the trap of contradicting themselves) by "car parking is too expensive" is heading into town and parking to go town centre shopping is an chore they don't enjoy and that they don't spend enough to warrant the car parking.

    It is a case of semantics, the three letter word "too" is very relevant. More people came into town with painted pigs or with their children to meet a random unknown guy in a suit for a TV character... it was a positive uplifting experience where everyone enjoyed their time. They would have preferred free parking (don't we all?) but started the day off in high spirits and left very content.

    If the retail experience was improved a great deal they would pay double the price without batting an eyelid. It all extends of how downmarket the town has been allowed to fall with even residents down-valuing their hometown. When you have a council and BID who see attracting retail as difficult you have a problem. Look elsewhere, if you have confidence new retailers turn up... much easier than a new office block! Not sure they will learn that lesson.

    It is rather sad the local tradition of going into the town on a Saturday every week (even after the addition of out-of-town retail parks and supermarkets) - even to pick up a couple of items - is starting to disappear. Longer term we could well see fewer footfall in the town despite a larger population of the town and urban area. The council has designed a plaster for this by increasing town centre living.

    Visiting too often wears off... I am sick of recognising the same Big Issue seller who stands in more-or-less the same spot and have done so for years. Clearly not homeless, and although very polite, it is a blight on the landscape and quite frankly an annoyance... situated between the beautiful Ancient House, the town's secondary horizontal shopping street Buttermarket, St Stephens Lane towards the TIC and leisure centre and Dial Lane with St Lawrence Centre. People are forced to rush their shopping experience and this doesn't make for a good experience.

    First Ipswich myth busted with what is the biggest local cliche... the solution is to better the town centre experience. Unfortunately for Ipswich, "experience" is a DMO buzzword and this cannot happen without an exclusive deal with the council and public funds. Something both the borough and Ipswich Central should already be doing.

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