Parking ban on residential roads in Sidmouth slammed by visitor

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4992. Picture: Terry Ife

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4992. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A decision to enforce parking restrictions on residential roads during FolkWeek has been slammed.

John Whelan, 79, who has been attending FolkWeek since 1966, said he was disappointed to see all the side roads in around Sidmouth had parking restrictions, for the duration of the festival.

He added: “Over the weekend the car parks in the town centre were completely full.

“It isn’t the campers it is the day visitors that are just tourists that had the problem. “So many people were upset and were telling me they won’t come again.”

Mr Whelan claimed a number of drivers gave up and went home.

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He added: “I could understand if they just put overnight restrictions in place to discourage campervans parking there but it is throughout all of FolkWeek.”

Festival director John Braithwaite said: “I am sorry if anyone had issues with parking but we did put a park-and-ride in place which can be used by anybody - and that is never full.

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“We work really hard to try and include people from the local area.”

County Councillor Stuart Hughes, who is responsible for Highways, said: “Those restrictions were put in place because that is what was agreed.

“When you have an event the size of FolkWeek that comes to Sidmouth and brings so much to the local economy you have to have a traffic management plan and that includes putting restrictions in place.

“I have also had residents moaning about people parking where restrictions are in place and that they can’t park where they normally do during FolkWeek. The day time is when you have the most problems.

“You can please some people, but you can’t please everyone unfortunately.”

Social networkers also took to Twitter to hit out at East Devon District Council for closing its car park at Knowle.

An authority spokeswoman said: “We love FolkWeek and work hard as a council to make sure that it runs smoothly.

“The car parks at our offices are the working car parks for staff and visitors to the offices. “Each year they are closed off for the weekend of Sidmouth FolkWeek.

“This is to make sure that they aren’t used by campervans and other vehicles when our offices re-open for the week which would prevent visitors to our offices and our staff parking in them.”

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