Sidmouth business leaders warn of ‘adverse effect’ of increasing parking charges

PUBLISHED: 09:10 09 February 2018

Church Street car park, Sidford. Ref shs 06 18TI  7179. Picture: Terry Ife

Church Street car park, Sidford. Ref shs 06 18TI 7179. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The chamber of commerce chairman has said changes to car parks in the Sid Valley are ‘bound to have an adverse effect’ on town traders.

Temple Street car park, Sidmouth. Ref shs 06 18TI 7174. Picture: Terry IfeTemple Street car park, Sidmouth. Ref shs 06 18TI 7174. Picture: Terry Ife

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet met on Wednesday to review tariffs and permit parking across the district.

Under the proposals, car parks including Church Street in Sidford would be brought into line with the council’s standard long-stay tariff of £1 per hour and £3 for 24 hours, applying 24 hours a day from Monday to Saturday.

David Wheaton, chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “The council hopes to raise an extra £30,000 as a result of their changes to car parking charges in East Devon. However, the danger is that, if you put up charges too much, you could end up bringing in less revenue if people decide to go elsewhere or try to park in residential side streets instead.

“The intention is to more than double the charges. Currently the charge is 20p per half-hour and 40p per hour. The council wishes to raise this to 50pence per half hour and £1 per hour. This is bound to have an adverse impact on businesses in Sidford.”

The council also proposes to increase the number of ‘reserved’ spaces in Temple Street, Sidmouth.

Currently the car park has 31 spaces, 12 of which are ‘reserved’. The council wants to create another eight such bays to meet demand and leave 11 spots for visitors.

Mr Wheaton added: “Clearly, this will increase the revenue return for the council. It is not going to help businesses in Temple Street.”

An EDDC spokeswoman said the proposed parking fee adjustment would allow the authority to provide the best possible service to car park users and additional revue would be reinvested into electric plug-in charge points or new ticket machines.

There are also proposals to change the parking permit structure across the district, which have been called ‘unfair and financially unsustainable’ by critics.

It is also proposed town and area permits are replaced with a range of single town or village permits, which will be priced according to parking availability or demand.

A permit for Sidmouth, Honiton, Axminster, Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Lympstone, Beer and Seaton will still cost the current price of £134, but would only be valid in one specific town.

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