‘Flexible as possible’ pledge for locking-up of Sidmouth car park

Manor Road Car Park

Manor Road Car Park - Credit: Archant

The impact of an overnight closure at Sidmouth’s Manor Road car park will be monitored by district bosses – who have pledged they will be ‘as flexible as possible’ with its new opening times.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) agreed to install a lockable barrier at the entrance of the facility earlier this month after residents pleaded for action to tackle antisocial boy racers.

Now concerns have been raised that residents and visitors could be affected by the closure - and that it could impact on the revenue of local businesses and with tourism income.

EDDC says it will work with Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and the town’s councillors to balance the needs of residents living near the car park and local trade.

The authority’s finance boss, Councillor Ian Thomas, said: “We are sensitive to the concerns of the local members and the chamber of commerce.

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“It is therefore our intention that we are as flexible as possible over the times during which the barrier is locked up, so it is not harmful to the local businesses.

“The barrier would be unlocked in the morning and locked in the evening at different times, depending on events going on in the town. We already do this in two car parks in Exmouth and it works.”

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The system agreed by EDDC’s cabinet would feature a set of ‘dragon’s teeth’ at the car park exit - preventing entry, but allowing cars inside to leave at any time.

The equipment will also be installed at Seaton’s Underfleet car park, at an estimated cost of £18,000 for both sites.

The council is proposing to lock the entrance barrier at around 9pm each evening until 8am the following day. The locking and unlocking would be handled by the authority’s StreetScene team.

EDDC says it is now working on detailed quotes for the barriers, as well as exploring the feasibility of an electronically operated system.

Cllr Thomas added: “We will monitor car park numbers through the chamber of commerce and town council members and the car parks will not be locked shut when they are needed.”

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