Sidmouth traders reveal future parking hopes

BUSINESS leaders in Sidmouth have called for a park-and-ride at Knowle and have urged highways chiefs to forget about town-centre pedestrianisation and parking meters.

A record turnout for a Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Wednesday saw 54 members gather for a debate on the town’s traffic and parking issues.

The meeting was also called to help develop a formal response to a district council review of its off-street car parks before a deadline on Monday.

Traders filled out questionnaires in a bid to form a clear statement of business opinion on a range of transport and traffic issues.

“This is the first survey of its kind and is definitive,” said chamber chairman Richard Eley.

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“The good turn-out gives the results considerable credibility.”

Results of the survey revealed:

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l 94per cent of polled chamber members were against the introduction of parking meters in the town centre.

l 90per cent were in favour of extending the maximum stay period in the Ham and Roxburgh car parks from three to four hours.

l 83per cent were against any further increase in pedestrianisation.

l 67per cent were in favour of changing High Street, from All Saints Road to the Co-op, to a one-way system.

Opinion was divided over restricting parking times on the Esplanade to two hours, with 52per cent favouring a change from the present unrestricted regime, and 48per cent preferring a retention of the status quo.

The most suitable location for a park-and-ride facility sparked debate. A mooted relocation of the district council to Honiton saw Knowle named as the choice of 45per cent of those asked.

Twenty-three per cent opted for the existing Manor Road car park and 18per cent chose a location near Stevens Cross and the Blue Ball.

Only 14per cent chose a site at the junction of Woolbrook Road and the A3052 - identified as a possible park-and-change facility by the county council.

The chamber called for the district council to lower parking charges. A suggestion to make the Manor Road car facility free from November to February proved popular among members.

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