Task force to consider future of East Devon car parks – after marathon debate over controversial price hikes

A task force will be set up to consider the future of East Devon’s car parks – after controversial price hike proposals were debated for two hours.

Marathon talks last Wednesday saw a record-breaking 24 councillors speak to slam plans to increase charges at busy sites by 50 per cent and make free facilities pay-and-display.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet eventually voted to consult the public over raising the hourly rate at a dozen of its car parks by 20 per cent.

This would see a 20pence-an-hour increase in tariffs at ‘high-demand’ car parks in Honiton, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Axminster, Seaton, Beer and Budleigh Salterton.

The public will also be asked about introducing charges at a further eight sites.

Evening and overnight levies could also be imposed at 12 facilities.

The cabinet decision was the following day debated at a meeting of EDDC’s scrutiny committee. Members of this resolved to set up a ‘task and finish forum’.

“This will consider a range of matters with regard to the ongoing and future management and operation of the council’s car parks,” said EDDC leader Councillor Ben Ingham.

“There is a possibility that the cabinet decision will also be called in to the scrutiny committee, but we will not know this until later next week.”

The cabinet’s proposals still need to be ratified by the full council on October 23.

Opposition councillors made it clear they would be ‘calling in’ the matter for debate and to put forward alternative proposals.

With the Independent Group running the council holding 19 of its 60 seats, the proposals could still be voted down.

A year-long trial of free coach parking in Seaton Jurassic coach park and a promotional tariff of £2 all-day parking in the Canaan Way and Brook Street car parks in Ottery St Mary were also voted through last Wednesday.

‘High-demand’  East Devon car parks where a 20 per cent increase in hourly charges – from £1 to £1.20 – is proposed are:

  • Lace Walk short-stay car park, Honiton;
  • West Street short-stay car park, Axminster;
  • Orchard car park, Seaton;
  • Central short-stay car park, Beer;
  • Ham East, Sidmouth;
  • Ham West,Sidmouth;
  • Roxburgh,Sidmouth;
  • Mill Street, Sidmouth;
  • Rolle Mews car park, Budleigh Salterton;
  • London Inn car park, Exmouth;
  • Imperial Road car park, Exmouth;
  • Queen’s Drive car park, Exmouth.

Free car parks where pay-and-display charges are proposed are:

  • Upper Station car park, Budleigh Salterton– end leasing to the town council and operate as a long-stay pay-and-display car park;
  • Brook Road car park, Budleigh Salterton– operate as a short-stay pay-and-display car park;
  • The Green car park, Broadclyst– operate as a long-stay pay-and-display car park;
  • School Lane car park, Newton Poppleford– operate as a long-stay pay-and-display car park;
  • Temple Street car park(free for two hours), Sidmouth– operate as a short-stay pay-and-display car park;
  • Blackmore Gardens car park, Sidmouth– operate as a short-stay pay-and-display car park with special arrangements for health centre and library users;
  • Manor Farm Estate car park, Sidbury– operate as either a permit holder or resident reserved space car park;
  • Jarvis Close car park, Littleham Cross, Exmouth– operate as a short-stay pay-and-display car park;

Car parks, currently free in the evenings, where charges are proposed are:

  • Lace Walk short stay car park, Honiton;
  • West Street short stay car park, Axminster;
  • Orchard car park, Seaton;
  • Central car park, Beer;
  • Ham East,Sidmouth;
  • Ham West, Sidmouth;
  • Roxburgh,Sidmouth;
  • Mill Street, Sidmouth;
  • Rolle Mews car park, Budleigh Salterton;
  • London Inn car park, Exmouth;
  • Imperial Road car park, Exmouth;
  • Exmouth Pavilion car park, Exmouth.

Two-hour council debate over East Devon’s car park price hike proposals ends with consultation plans

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