Appeal to ‘sense of fair play’ over car park abuse

PUBLISHED: 12:30 02 June 2015

Archant

Patients are paying the price for the ‘99 per cent’ of drivers who use and abuse a free town centre car park, but health bosses and library staff have promised a crackdown.

The bays in Blackmore Drive have long been plagued by workers, shoppers and residents who leave their cars there all day - or even overnight.

Now Sidmouth Library and the neighbouring health centre, which share the facility, have limited parking to two hours and hope to identify regular culprits.

Practice relations manager Kate Thomas said: “Residents park there overnight so we can’t get in, and shop owners park there all day and then go off to work. Maybe one per cent of drivers use it legitimately.”

Emma Vigurs, the surgery’s facilities manager, added: “It’s very difficult for patients. They have to go into lay-bys, roads nearby or pay to park.”

A new sign has been put up, which it is hoped will make motorists rethink how they use the car park.

Parking has been limited to two hours, which is estimated will be sufficient for motorists to attend an appointment or use the library’s public computers.

Di Fuller, the chairman of the Sid Valley Practice Patient Participation Group, said: “We’re looking at ways we can hold people accountable.

“They’re taking advantage of something that’s there for people who need it. It adds insult to injury if people are parking there and going to work.”

Health centre and library bosses are looking at getting East Devon District Council to add the car park to its wardens’ circuit so fines can be enforced.

However, the Blackmore Drive car park is privately owned, by NHS Property Services, and Mrs Fuller said the arrangement is proving ‘tricky’.

“You can see the same cars every day,” she added. “We’re considering trying to identify the owners.

“We’re appealing to people’s sense of fair play.”

Sidmouth Library manager Carol Pentecost said parking is ‘quite an issue’ and she often has to answer enquiries about parking by saying there is no guarantee of a space.

Parking is in short supply across the town.

EDDC’s short-stay car parks at the Ham and Roxburgh limit parking to three hours. The long-stay Manor Road car park costs £6 for the day. Its Temple Street car park is free, but is a 20-minute walk from the town centre.

And the cost of its Mill Street car park tripled this year from £600 to around £1,800, forcing many residents and businesses to rethink renewing their permits.

Do you live or work in the town centre? Where do you park? Email sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk.


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