Thursday, March 21, 2013
AN experimantal initiative where shoppers will get an extra hour of parking for free in Sidmouth will only become permanent if it achieves “the best of both worlds” for council number-crunchers.
The Herald revealed last week how the scheme will see motorists who pay for a three-hour stop-off at The Ham car parks get a fourth for nothing.
A six-month trial run will begin on Good Friday (March 29) – and town businesses are delighted.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) chiefs say the cut-price offer is for cash or mobile phone payments only - and does not apply to permit holders.
Similar schemes across the district aim to find out what long-term parking offers the council might be able to implement to boost local trade - while not reducing the income it receives.
EDDC says parking cash is used to fund essential local services and keep council tax the lowest in Devon.
Councillor Phil Twiss said: “We hope to encourage more people to come and enjoy our towns, seafronts, shops and attractions over the busy summer months.
“This trial will help us find out if we can afford to run these offers in the longer-term and in more places.
“We do have to generate enough money from parking to keep services running and council tax frozen. Hopefully these offers will be the best of both worlds - more people parking, lower costs for motorists and the same income to support local services.”
The cost of permits for EDDC’s off-street car parks have gone up by between 10 and 15 per cent – but remain among the cheapest in the county.