SIR - I note that in your publication you have recently printed a letter from Pete Ashton who is the Devon Policy Chairman of FSP.
I’m afraid Mr Ashton has got things very wrong in his letters and I would like to try to put the record straight.
It might have been helpful had Mr Ashton contacted me to talk to me prior to writing to local newspapers and, had he done so, I would have been very happy to explain to him what I am about to explain in this letter.
The County Council put the proposals for on-street park/pay and display on hold because we were listening to local communities and, in particular, the business interests in town centres where on-street orders were advertised.
Following that action, I informed those local communities that we would reflect on the responses we had received and would revisit those towns with a view to establishing whether or not there was an appetite for a comprehensive traffic management plan to be developed, the process in train at this current time is that the county councillors for those towns are being engaged with a view to officers supporting them in terms of the most appropriate way forward in the future for those towns. Part of that discussion is how our county councillors wish to engage with organisations like the Town Councils, The Chambers of Commerce and, if appropriate, the Federation of Small Businesses, and this will happen as a result of those discussions with the local County Councillors.
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Mr Ashton concludes by postulating that “if there is a genuine acceptance by local businesses, shopping communities, that the traffic management system would improve the shopping and trading experience in their town” then that is precisely the position we are trying to establish.
So let’s be clear of the position currently, which is that nothing has been decided, discussions are taking place with local county councillors first, followed by discussions more broadly in those towns with elected representatives and with stakeholders, in the fullness of time.
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This will not be rushed and it will be completed in conjunction with the local community and local stakeholders.
Councillor Stuart Hughes
Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation
Devon County Council