Car park bays boost Rotary theatre trips

Mill street carpark. Ref shs 6858-21-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Mill street carpark. Ref shs 6858-21-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A pair of under-utilised car parks netted £185 for the Rotary Club of Sidmouth’s charity activities when they were put to use over the Christmas period.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) offered the cause proceeds secured from some 36 bays at Mill Street and Holmdale while it debated a solution for the assets’ future use.

Authority chiefs said the move would give them the opportunity to test demand for a pay and display system that is set to be brought in this year.

Rotary club president Ron Galling said: “This money will be a great help to support the visits to the theatre that we run for the old people of Sidmouth.

“We run it at a loss, so the proceeds will help us provide transportation and ice creams.”

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The future of both car parks has been debated since EDDC trebled the cost of a permit to £1,800 in 2014.

When few permits sold, the authority said the Mill Street site was underused and suggested it could be developed for ‘affordable’ housing.

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While the car park’s fate was being decided, Sidmouth councillors Matt Booth, Cathy Gardner and John Dyson said it should be opened to Christmas shoppers and the proceeds donated to a good cause. Permits were sold for use between December 7 and 27 for a suggested donation of £5 per day.

Councillor Booth said: “It was a good scheme – everyone came together to make something work.

“It moves the debate forward on the car park.

“It’s good that it will be pay and display.

“We need parking and for that end of town - it’s handy.”

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