Beer’s unlit car park “soured” visitor’s stay

Leatherhead man complains to EDDC about lights switch-off

LACK of lighting in Beer’s main car park could deter visitors from making a return visit to the village.

Gerald Harvard from Leatherhead, Surrey, has complained to East Devon District Council’s chief executive, Mark Williams, about the lack of any lights at night and says: “It soured my visit. It would be a factor not to come back.

“The car park was just so dark, I felt uncomfortable.”

He told Mr Williams: “I think the lights were on the first night, but they certainly weren’t the rest of the time, it was absolutely pitch dark.

“I understand, from colloquial information, that the reason for this is (for EDDC) to save money.

“This is a very false saving in my opinion. Places like Beer depend on tourism, it is its lifeblood and would die without visitors, from whom you must profit considerably in terms of parking charges.

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“If those tourists feel the security of their cars is compromised, they will cease to patronise your area. I doubt you will see me staying in East Devon again.

Mr Williams told Gerald: “It is our policy to do this as it saves money and also addresses concerns/comments from local residents about the need for lights to be on all night when there is no need for them.”

He said the major attraction of East Devon was it was “a very safe place to live, work and stay” and the council and police and others worked hard to keep it so.

Notices were at the car park, he added, but may have been removed illegally.

He said only four offences had been reported at the car park since 1998. Three of those took place in that year, and the last offence, in 2002, was criminal damage.

Mr Williams added: “Should there be any change in this very low level, we will review matters.”

Gerald said: “The lights are off between 11pm and 6am, how much did the signs cost to place at the entrance to car parks? You would think it would be a lot more than the cost of a running a few light bulbs.

“I still would maintain, even allowing for the relatively safe environment down there, that many local residents would surely not be happy to leave their cars, where they cannot see them, in dark areas where there are lights that were previously in use.”

*As a Beer resident, what do you think about having not lights on at night in the main car park? Let us know on our forum at