Council outrage over Sidmouth parking meters

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 December 2010 | UPDATED: 12:23 17 December 2010

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CONCERNED civic leaders told highways chiefs they are “taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut” with “one-size fits all” plans to put parking meters in Sidmouth town centre.

CONCERNED civic leaders told highways chiefs they are “taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut” with “one-size fits all” plans to put parking meters in Sidmouth town centre.

Sidmouth Town Council last Monday reaffirmed its view that ‘pay and display’ proposals are “contradictory and nonsensical” and “a death knell” to the town.

Councillors told Devon County Council’s (DCC) head of highways management Lester Wilmington they don’t want to see the measure “imposed” on Sidmouth.

DCC argues the proposed scheme is designed to improve parking and traffic management and won’t have a dramatic affect.

Mr Wilmington said the move would make parking enforcement officers’ jobs “easier” as the current system is “difficult to enforce.” The planned meter system would mean officers would only need to visit vehicles once instead of twice.

He added residents and councillors have the opportunity “to shape the scheme” by responding to a public consultation.

Town councillors, however, were irked DCC can only provide financial figures and statistics related to the scheme on a region-wide basis- and not specific to Sidmouth.

“It will destroy the ambience of the town, just for the sake of a small amount of money…for figures you can’t even quantify- for me this is very bad accounting,” said Cllr Mary Jolly.

Nine meters in Sidmouth will cost tax-payers £18,000.

Cllr Frances Newth said: “It sounds to me like you’re taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. We’re only a small town- this is a total waste of tax-payers money.”

Cllr David Barratt feared the option for drivers to stay for an hour instead of 30 minutes would see a reduction, possibly by up to half, in the turnover of shoppers using the spaces.

Cllr John Hollick, a town trader, told colleagues there was already a parking problem under the existing system. He said: “Today someone parked outside my premises in Church Street for two hours.

“Four cars could have been potential customers to me and other traders in that time. I’ve seen the amount of people who abuse the system the way it is. It’s damaging trade not encouraging it.”


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