Sidmouth parking meter proposals ‘on hold’

CONTROVERSIAL plans to install parking meters in Sidmouth town-centre have been halted.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to install parking meters in Sidmouth town-centre have been halted.

But highways chiefs have insisted the proposed move has been “put on hold” and not scrapped.

Sidmouth traders this week welcomed the news and hailed residents and town councillors for boosting their fight.

Devon County Council (DCC) announced that ‘park and display’ proposals for Sidmouth and nine other coastal and market towns will be suspended.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highways, told the Herald: “One size doesn’t fit all. Each town has its own traffic problems.”

DCC claims the move will enable it to hold further discussions with traders, residents, and Sidmouth Town Council.

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The authority has vowed to work with the town to draw up a detailed traffic management blueprint.

Mr Hughes said: “We’re not scrapping this process, we’re simply taking a step back.

“We need to be able to look again at each town and come up with a comprehensive traffic management plan for each of them.

“Some form of park/pay and display may well form part of those plans.”

The issue of on-street pay and display was withdrawn from DCC cabinet discussions on Wednesday.

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce members thanked Mr Hughes for listening and praised Sidmouth town council for opposing proposals and supporting local businesses. Backing and encouragement from town residents was also lauded by commerce chiefs.

A chamber statement said: “This was quite simply a rank bad idea that should never have been allowed to get as far as it did.

“Parking machines in our town centre are clearly undesirable for a host of reasons. Our guess is the idea will never resurface.

“We need to put this mess behind us, and engage with DCC in a constructive and thoughtful manner to solve some of Sidmouth’s transport issues.

“The county will have learnt that, in an era of localism, top down dictat does not work. We are sure, with this nonsense behind us, we can make some genuine progress.”

Traders were pleased a county-wide campaign against parking meters boosted co-operation between several Devon chambers of commerce.