Councillors urged to 'think again' over car park pricing hikes


Parking charges are set to rise in some popular East Devon car parks - Credit: Archant

How much should you pay to park your car in town? The simple answer is as little as possible.
Sadly, East Devon District Council are about to sign off a huge hike in parking charges with most car parks going up by 50% to £1.50 per hour and selected sites increasing by 100% to £2 an hour.
I know the last few years have been difficult for council spreadsheets. EDDC insist they need more revenue for council coffers after a difficult period. However, the last few years have been very difficult for many residents and businesses too.
EDDC is proposing to charge £2.00 an hour at selected popular car parks including Beer Central, Exmouth Queen’s Drive, Exmouth Foxholes, Exmouth Beach Gardens, Budleigh Lime Kiln, and Sidmouth Ham (East and West) from April. That’s double the current £1.00 an hour rate. Other car parks will jump to £1.50 an hour.
These new prices will make East Devon’s towns and high streets some of the most expensive places to park in coastal Devon, Dorset and Cornwall.
For example, £2 an hour in Sidmouth puts the town’s already limited parking at a premium, above some in Lyme Regis (£1.20 an hour), Swanage (£1.20), Dartmouth (£1.30), Torquay (£1.40), and St Ives (£1.70) to name a few.
I am really concerned by the impact on local shops, jobs, and tourism. So are my Conservative colleagues on the council. I have heard from businesses who fear shoppers will drive to out-of-town supermarkets or shop online even more, with visitors choosing to go elsewhere.
You can make your voice heard by contacting your local district councillor. EDDC is led by the East Devon Alliance Party alongside the Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens and one Independent. They all plan to sign-off these car park price hikes on 23rd February.
Council tax is set to rise, we could be charged to use a public toilet and others may close, and now we’ll pay more to park. We need to encourage people back into our towns and high streets, not drive them away. Our councillors must urgently think again.