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Parking rules leaves FolkWeek visitors nowhere to go

PUBLISHED: 17:10 12 August 2014

Motor home owners are angry they are unable to use the Manor Road Car Park for the first time in a decade

Motor home owners are angry they are unable to use the Manor Road Car Park for the first time in a decade

Archant

Motor home owners claim they were discriminated against by a district council inflexibly enforcing rules that have been relaxed during FolkWeek for years – leaving them with nowhere to stay.

The retired occupants – most of them musicians, some of them disabled – say they were given no notice that a move to prevent them from parking overnight in Manor Road car park was being imposed.

After the welcome they received, and facing fees of up to £40 a night to park elsewhere, many said they would cut their stay short – and never return.

“In the past the council [East Devon District Council (EDDC)] has turned a blind eye,” festival regular Andrew Mycroft told the Herald last Friday. “It’s been that way for the last 10 years.

“Soon there are going to be dozens of motor homes arriving and there’s going to be nowhere for them to go.

“We should’ve been warned, or at least told this year will be the last.”

He bought a £25 seven-day parking ticket last Thursday, but was awoken the next morning by EDDC enforcement officers saying parking a motor home in the car park between 10pm and 8am was prohibited.

Peter Norwood, who drove for six hours from Norfolk to reach the festival, said the motor home owners would have to park elsewhere, displacing the problem into the town.

“It’s discrimination against motor homes,” added musician Clive Giles. “Do they think we are travellers and we’re going to stay here? At least if we were we’d get 30 days’ notice.”

An EDDC spokesman said: “Overnight sleeping in EDDC car parks has been banned since at least 2008.

“We have had complaints about the ban being ignored in Manor Road during festival week and at other car parks in the district at other times. Our car parks are not intended or equipped to accommodate overnight stays, whilst local camp sites do provide pitches for such vehicles.

“Earlier this year cabinet approved a new policy, which is now enforceable.

“We have been open about these changes, which can be seen on our website, and we have made the new approach clear to individuals applying for licences to trade at the festival.

“It’s unfortunate if the changes result in any individual hardship but there are sound reasons for the policy.

“Disabled drivers with a blue badge have a range of concessions for parking on the highway close to where they need to be.”

What do readers think? Email sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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