Decision branded ‘ludicrous’ as parking permit price trebles

06:00 25 August 2014

Sidmouth residents are angry with the cost of parking at Mill Street car park being increased. Picture by Simon Horn. Ref shs 2965-34-14SH

Sidmouth residents are angry with the cost of parking at Mill Street car park being increased. Picture by Simon Horn. Ref shs 2965-34-14SH

Archant

OUTRAGED elderly residents have blasted a move to treble the cost of an annual permit at a town centre car park to £1,800 as ‘appalling’ and ‘ludicrous’.

The huge hike – a 330 per cent increase – has left longstanding nearby householders feeling angry and priced out - with few options in an area dominated by double yellow lines.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) says the move will see the site’s 58 bays rake in more than £100,000 a year.

Users have been advised to apply for new three-year £5,400 contracts as the spaces go out to tender.

York Street residents Michael and Joan Denning, both in their 80s, have utilised the ‘essential’ car park for three decades and fear the increase’s ‘social impact’.

“It belongs to the people of eastern town, which is not the most prosperous area,” said Joan.

“It’s very difficult to believe we can possibly afford it.”

“People don’t know where they are going to put their cars,” added Michael. “It’s an absolute outrage and appalling.

“This is a very deprived part of the town. I think they should be looking at other areas to save money.”

“It’s an enormous leap,” said Margaret Addison, 70, of Russell Street.

“The lady next to me is 90 – her carer can’t afford to drive around looking for somewhere to park. We need reliable parking.”

Jack Robson, 78, of Mill Street, added: “I have literally no access to a road to park a car – it’s all double yellow lines.

“If the new charges come into fruition, I’ll just be another driver going round town looking for somewhere.”

Chris Pink, also of Mill Street, said: “It’s ludicrous, a rip-off, but people have to park in the town centre whether they like it or not.”

He added the cost of a parking permit would be more than some pay in council tax.

“This is a residential area – for them to give these spaces over to the highest bidder is turning it into a business car park,” said Helen Gibson.

“One lady is so disabled she needs her daughter and a carer three times a day, but they wouldn’t be able to park – it’s going to be socially very divisive.

“Are they [EDDC] just waiting to see that it is empty so it can be built on? It could just be businesses and holiday lets with no provision for the people who live in this part of town.”

Businesses, like solicitors and estate agents, will also be affected by the increase.

An EDDC spokesman said its assets needed to be managed to the ‘best possible effect’, adding: “These spaces are in high demand and it therefore follows that the council should be achieving a market rate.”

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