‘Alderman ex-councillors should keep free parking perk’ – despite charge increases across East Devon

Former East Devon councillors awarded ‘alderman’ status should get to keep a free parking perk – despite a controversial price hike for the paying public.

A district authority watchdog said removing the privilege for long-serving ex-representatives bestowed with the title would be ‘petty’ and ‘a bit mean’.

Hourly fees at 27 car parks in Exmouth, Sidmouth, Honiton, Seaton, Budleigh Salterton, Beer and Lympstone are to double or increase by 50 per cent in April.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has given honorary alderman status to 42 people in the last two decades for their ‘eminent service’.

One benefit of the title is free use of all of EDDC’s car parks.

A motion for a ‘grandfather clause’ stopping any newly-appointed aldermen from receiving such passes was rejected by the authority’s Scrutiny Committee.

Exmouth Town representative Councillor Olly Davey, who supported that idea, said: “We may think we give great service, but that’s not always the public perception of us as councillors and I’ve heard any number of people when I’m knocking on the doorstep say to me instead, ‘Well you’re all in it for yourselves’.

“Lots of people put in good service and don’t expect any perks at the end of it.”

Exmouth Brixington ward member Cllr Maddie Chapman said: “I think car parking is fine. It’s the only perk you get for working for years and years and years for your residents.”

She added of potentially removing the privilege: “It’s a bit mean isn’t it? Come on, they’ve put a lot of service in. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask to be quite honest.”

Cllr Mike Allen, who represents Honiton St. Michael’s, said: “I think it’s rather petty not to recognise good people.

“Every organisation tends to do that and it’s a shame if we don’t. Long-serving members should be considered.”

Coly Valley councillor Helen Parr added: “I very much doubt they [free parking passes]cost this council very much and I think it’s just a nice gesture that they get that very small freedom to park.

“It’s not very much and I think it should continue.”

The committee was discussing ideas on how to update the appointment of aldermen.

Its recommendations also included proposals to revise the gender-based name of the title.

The subject will be discussed again at a full council meeting and as part of a proposed new ‘alderman working group’.

EDDC says the car parking increases are the first of their kind in the district for almost 12 years.

The move will raise £1.1million for council use maintaining public spaces and loos, hiring staff, on EDDC’s tree policy and its recycling and refuse services.


Car parks where the hourly rate will double from £1 – £2 in April 2022

 Beer

  • Central long-stay
  • Fore Street short-stay
  • Cliff-top long-stay

Budleigh Salterton

  • Lime Kiln long-stay
  • Rolle Mews short-stay

Exmouth

  • Imperial Road short-stay
  • Queen’s Drive short-stay
  • Foxholes long-stay
  • Queen’s Drive Echelon long-stay
  • Imperial Road Recreation Ground long-stay
  • Camperdown Terrace long-stay
  • Beach Gardens short-stay

Lympstone

  • Underhill long-stay

Seaton

  • Jurassic long-stay
  • The Underfleet West long-stay

Sidmouth

  • Ham West short-stay
  • Ham East short-stay
  • Manor Road long-stay
  • Roxburgh short-stay
  • Mill Street short-stay
  • Manor Pavilion short-stay

Car parks where the hourly rate will rise by 50 per cent from £1 – £1.50 

Exmouth

  • London Hotel short-stay

Honiton

  • Lace Walk short-stay
  • King Street short-stay
  • New Street South long-stay
  • New Street North long-stay

Seaton

  • Orchard Road short-stay

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