Sidmouth's MP has called on East Devon leaders to 'think again' over plans to raise parking charges in the district.

The move, which would see rates rise to £2 per hour at key spots - including at the Sidmouth Roxburgh, Manor Road, Mill Street and Manor Pavilion car parks - has been proposed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) in a bid to fill a funding shortfall.

Rates would rise to £1.50 at other car parks.

However, Simon Jupp, the Conservative MP for East Devon, said the 'huge hike' would put East Devon among the most expensive places to park in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

"EDDC insist they need more revenue for council coffers after a difficult period. However, the last few years have been very difficult for many residents and businesses too," he said.

"I am really concerned by the impact on local shops, jobs, and tourism. So are my Conservative colleagues on the council," Mr Jupp added.

"I have heard from businesses who fear shoppers will drive to out-of-town supermarkets or shop online even more, with visitors choosing to go elsewhere."

Sidmouth Herald: MP Simon Jupp has hit out at the increasesMP Simon Jupp has hit out at the increases (Image: GRW Photography)

He urged concerned residents to contact their local district councillor ahead of a vote on the increases scheduled for February 23.

"We need to encourage people back into our towns and high streets, not drive them away," Mr Jupp added.

"Our councillors must urgently think again."

Previously, leader of EDDC, Cllr Paul Arnott, said the rises were the first in the district since 2010.

"Moreover, in the intervening time, a high rate of VAT has been applied to those charges, so now a good chunk of the takings does not even reach the council, but ends up in the Chancellor’s coffers," he said.

"This Conservative strategy, together with artificially suppressing council tax for a full half decade, pleased their national masters – look, they said, we can provide services in a low tax setting.

"The problem is that the laws of mathematics cannot be influenced by political hubris. And now the pigeons have come home to roost."