Residents outcry over sudden car park shutdown

Monday, June 9, 2014
6:00 AM

Furious Beer residents have voiced their anger after one of the village’s main car parks on Clapp’s Lane was closed for a week without them knowing.

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It was shut to allow relining and resurfacing to take place, and is proposed to open to the public tomorrow (Saturday), writes Callum Lawton.

Angry villagers expressed their frustration at a parish council meeting on Tuesday, June 3, over the shutdown, which has forced motorists to park on double yellow lines.

David Abbott, who owns Colebrook Guesthouse, asked why residents were not informed prior to the closure of the car park, which is East Devon District Council (EDDC) owned.

“Not any one of us knew about it,” Mr Abbott said. “How can you decide to close it in a busy time in June?”

He added that the council ‘did not have the decency’ to inform business owners about the closure and branded the situation as a ‘complete mess’.

David’s wife, Wendy, told councillors that their business has lost money because guests have nowhere to park.

“We feel very let down,” she added. “You did not come to us and say what can we do about it?

“We have had to park our own cars in the street, and told one lot [of guests] they will have to drive around and find somewhere to park.”

Councillor and EDDC ward member Geoff Pook apologised after admitting he saw an email which notified some people of the car park closure.

“This was not anything we were trying to hide,” he said. “It did not occur to me personally to tell you - therefore I did not tell you.

Cllr Pook added that there was a ‘real failure of communication’ but assured residents he would talk to the workmen to see how progress is going. Mr Pook also agreed that if the work is not ready on time, space in the car park should be sought to allow for weekend parking for permit holders.

He added: “As a group of councillors, we should have done something.”

An EDDC spokesman said: “We believe there are lessons to be learned from this situation.

“We have already held two meetings with the Association of East Devon Chambers of Commerce to discuss car parking issues, but there are certain unique aspects to Beer that would justify us spending some time with nominated village representatives.

“We will therefore be proposing that we arrange a meeting with our cabinet member, Cllr Iain Chubb, Cllr Pook as ward councillor, a representative of Beer Parish Council and members of Beer Village Forum to do just that.”

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