Shoppers in Ottery St Mary can enjoy a month of cheaper parking now a £2 all-day winter fee will be introduced immediately.
The tariff is normally not introduced until November, but East Devon District Council’s cabinet on Wednesday night agreed to implement it straightaway.
Fees at the Canaan Way car park used to be 50p per hour with a maximum charge of £1.50 for three hours, but the revised tariffs introduced in June saw that rise for £1 for an hour and £3 for three hours.
Cllr Geoff Pratt though said the charges had led to a drop in footfall and it was affecting the businesses in the town. He said since June 3 when the new tariffs were introduced, 500 people fewer each month were using the car parks.
He said: “These figures only confirmed what we were being told by the traders that there was a loss of footfall in the town since the fee increase and this was affecting the trading figures.”
Andrew Ennis, service lead, had proposed that as the impact of this year’s tariff increase in Canaan Way car park is already impacting negatively on the footfall in the town’s retail businesses, the usual winter price offer – all day parking for just £2 – should be introduced in Ottery with immediate effect.
He added: “It is our experience that this offer does not impact negatively on our own revenue with customers seeing £2 all day as great value. The additional revenue from more £2 tickets being purchased outweighs any loss of revenue from higher value sales.”
Cllr Pratt added: “Ottery St Mary does not unfortunately attract many visitors, so I trust the cabinet will support Ottery’s independent traders by agreeing to this proposal and that the £2 per day fee will apply with immediate effect.”