Bid to make Seaton a ‘coach-friendly town’ – as busy car park faces 50% price hike

Seaton’s busiest car park is facing a 50 per cent price hike – while charges at another site could be scrapped to make it a ‘coach-friendly town’.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is considering both moves among sweeping changes to its tariffs.

A year-long trial of free parking for coaches at Seaton Jurassic is being proposed in a bid to boost tourism.

The authority is also planning to increase the hourly rate at the Orchard car park from £1 to £1.50.

An evening and overnight levy would also be introduced as the facility.

The proposals will be considered by EDDC’s cabinet on Wednesday, October 2.

In a report to cabinet members, the council’s service lead says: “The ward member for Seaton has formally requested that we assist the town council in branding Seaton as a coach-friendly town.

“Free daily coach parking has been requested. By coincidence, the pay-and-display ticket machine in this coach park is faulty beyond repair and requires replacement.

“Coach drivers are therefore currently expected to pay using the Park Mobile app.

“During June and July, our coach parking revenue here was less than £100 so the risks associated with responding favourably to this request are minimal.

“I am recommending that we offer free coach parking for a 12-month trial period starting immediately to enable us to assess whether the offer results in increased coach visits to the town.

“Local customers who purchase permits to use the coach park regularly will be unaffected by this offer.”

East Devon’s free car parks will become pay-and-display and charges at busy spots will rocket by 50 per cent under the changes proposed by the district council.

The authority could raise an extra £400,000 a year by hiking costs at its most popular facilities and targeting those where motorists can currently stop-off for nothing.

Evening and overnight stay levies will also be imposed at 12 sites where there is presently no cost for drivers at these times.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) currently manages a portfolio of 50 car parks and is reviewing its tariffs for 2019/20.

The proposed changes will go before its cabinet with a view to them going out to public consultation.

Members have been told eight free-of-charge public car parks in Exmouth, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Newton Poppleford, Sidbury and Broadclyst should become pay-and-display.

A 50 per cent rise in charges – from £1 to £1.50 per hour – is also being proposed for a dozen car parks in ‘prime areas’.

The sites where spaces are said to be ‘at a premium’ are in Honiton, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Axminster, Seaton and Beer.

It is hoped the increase will ease congestions and see drivers use ‘less-popular’ car parks.

EDDC will also consider offloading facilities to town and parish councils in an ‘asset transfer’.

Fifty per cent price hike proposed at popular East Devon car parks – and free facilities could become pay-and-display

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