Car park charges increase is costing the town's businesses
PUBLISHED: 11:20 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:22 31 July 2019
Increased parking charges in Ottery St Mary are having a detrimental impact on independent businesses, it has been claimed.
District councillor Geoff Pratt said that the new charges, which were introduced in April, had led to a drop in footfall and were affecting trade.
At a full district council meeting, he called for the increases, which saw parking charges at the Canaan Way car park doubled, to be revoked.
However, leader of the council Ben Ingham said it would be 'grossly unfair' to review parking charges for one town.
Cllr Pratt, who also sits on the town council, said: "Ottery St Mary is a small market town with little tourism.
"The increase in charges has already seen a drop in footfall and income for independent shops, whose workers have to pay more.
"Will the [district council] officers agree to a meeting with me and Cllr Vicky Johns to consider revoking the increase in charges for Ottery St Mary?"
Cllr Ingham said: "When we look at and review the budget, we will be looking at the charges in all of the car parks.
"The total income from car parks last year was £2.7m - and that £2.7m is the same amount of money and savings that we will have to find for next year and if we don't we will have to raise council tax.
"I understand the call but for Ottery St Mary to be considered in isolation would be grossly unfair for the other settlements that are affected by this."
The new tariffs, which were ratified by the council's cabinet last autumn, saw the charges at Underhill car park in Lympstone, Canaan Way in Ottery St Mary, Coombe Lane in Axminster, and Dolphin Street in Colyton, which had cheaper parking rates, brought in line with the rest of the council run car parks.
Fees at the Canaan Way car park used to be 50p per hour with a maximum charge of £1.50 for three hours, but the revised tariffs saw that rise to £1 for an hour and £3 for three hours.