New twist in campaign to keep car park free

Sunday, August 17, 2014
9:00 AM

Budleigh traders are hoping the fight to save the town’s free car park may not yet be lost, after reaching out to its original owners for help.

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East Devon District Council (EDDC) decided last month that it would turn the Upper Station Road car park into a pay and display car park, despite strong opposition from businesses.

Now, however, there is some hope that traders may be able to force a rethink, after 48 of them wrote to Lord Clinton, whose Clinton Devon Estates, together with EDDC and Budleigh Salterton Town Council, is party to covenants which prevent a business being run on the car park.

Following the traders’ letter, a spokesman for Clinton Devon Estates said: “Our lawyer has written to East Devon District Council to seek further clarification regarding the council’s proposals for the future of the Upper Station Road car park.”

The car park site was previously bequeathed by the Clinton family to the town’s old urban district council, passing to EDDC when local government was reorganised in the 1970s.

In their letter to Lord Clinton, traders wrote: “On behalf of the High Street and the people of Budleigh Salterton, we are writing to you to appeal for your help to retain the free use of the land generously bequeathed by your family for the free use of the people of the town.

“Your family’s kind gift of the land which includes Station Road car park has enabled business staff members, local residents without parking facilities, and visitors to park safely and close to the town and not on the overcrowded residential streets, or on the High Street.

“The decision… to arbitrarily remove its free status against the wishes of the town’s people and your family’s intent will remove the last free long term car park and create parking chaos, deterring visitors and local shoppers and create another cost for the local businesses in reimbursing or losing staff.”

Trader Mike Clarke, who organised the letter with Angela Yarwood, said: “We believe the letter was well received, and therefore can only hope that the campaign is not lost.

“We will continue to put pressure on EDDC in any way we can.”

An EDDC spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are in correspondence with Clinton Devon Estates.”

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