Number of parking tickets in Sidmouth rockets

The number of parking tickets issued in Sidmouth rocketed 40 per cent in a year, new data reveals.

A Freedom of Information request by the Herald also showed the proportion of Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) issued in the town almost doubled in two years.

Drivers in Sidmouth took six per cent of all PCNs handed out across East Devon in 2008/09, which went up to nearly 11 per cent in 2010/11.

In contrast, over the same period the number of tickets drivers in Exmouth received was relatively stable.

Enforcement officers now spend approximately 214 hours ticketing vehicles in Sidmouth, second only to Exmouth.

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From October 2009 until September 2010 there were 721 parking fines given to drivers in the town, compared to 1,035 in the subsequent 12 months.

The former chairman of the chamber of commerce suggested the rise may be linked to increase in the cost of parking in 2010.

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Businessman Richard Eley said he spoke to the district council on Monday about the decline in the number of people using the parking in Sidmouth, but councillors were not able to comment.

Mr Eley said: “Parking usage is way down after the increase from 85 pence an hour to �1 an hour.”

He said that across East Devon there was a 9.5 per cent decrease in parking from the summer of 2010 to 2011.

In areas like West Dorset where there was not a rise, the number of shoppers has remained stable.

Some councils are even considering reducing costs to stimulate growth.

“It could be that people are breaking the law more, or that parking enforcement is becoming more important as the council try to raise income,” said Mr Eley.

He added that EDDC’s plan to raise money through increasing the hourly rate had backfired and they may now need to make up the shortfall.

An EDDC spokesman said: “Raising funds is not the motivation for issuing PCNs.

“We issue PCNs to enforce the law, to encourage motorists park safely and considerately, and to ensure good turnover and availability of spaces.”

Although the number of traffic wardens has increased, there has not been a correlation with income from parking, which has remained stable, averaging around �21,000 per month from May 2008 to July this year.

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