Controversial 20% price hike at East Devon car parks is shelved

A controversial bid for a 20 per cent price hike at the busiest car parks in East Devon has officially been halted.

District council decision-makers have decided to shelve the plans  – which would have seen costs at high-demand sites rise from £1 to £1.20 – until a task force has carried out a review of the facilities.

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

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

A 50 per cent increase was initially proposed in September under plans which would have also seen free facilities become pay-and-display and night-time charges also introduced.

The proposals angered councillors and when they were first debated in October – with some 24 representatives speaking during two hours of talks.

A bid to put the plans out to public consultation was ‘called in’ and East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee asked cabinet members not to proceed until the work of a task and finish forum, set up to review car parks, has been completed.

That recommendation was unanimously agreed by the cabinet at its last meeting.

EDDC leader Councillor Ben Ingham said members accepted the scrutiny committee’s findings.

As of yet, no target date is known for when the task and finish forum will finish its work.

‘High demand’ East Devon car parks where a 20 per cent increase in charges was 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.

Cabinet had already ditched proposals to end free parking at eight facilities across the district and introduce night-time charges at a dozen sites.

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