Budleigh parking meters - threat to shops?

Parking meters proposed for Budleigh Salterton’s High Street and Fore Street could damage the town’s economy, it was claimed this week.

The town council believes installing pay-and-display meters along Budleigh’s main shopping route could dissuade visitors and residents from spending their cash in the town.

The members do not believe the town has sufficient parking problems to warrant High Street meters – with the average shopper parking for 10 minutes - and the county council would not recoup the cost of installing and running the equipment.

The council plans to ask the county council to rethink its proposal – fearing shoppers could turn their backs on the town and head for nearby Tesco if they were forced to pay to park once a 30-minute free-parking window had been exceeded.

Devon County Council said nothing had been set in stone, but believed High Street meters would eventually prove lucrative.

A council spokesman said: “In recognition of the current economic circumstances, the county council cabinet notes that, where appropriate, consideration will be given to introducing new town centre pay-and-display schemes on the basis of free parking for the first 30 minutes.

“It is believed that all schemes delivered under the market and coastal towns resolution will recover their own costs within 18 months.

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“Of course, every scheme will perform differently, the schemes are not finalised yet, and the effect of the 30-minute free period is not yet known.”

Budleigh Salterton councillor Courtney Richards said: “Budleigh Salterton High Street is already an efficient self-regulating ‘car park’, which encourages local shopping.

“Pay-and display is an expensive solution to a non-existent problem, with the potential to discourage, rather than encourage, visitors and residents alike.

“As a result of research done by the Budleigh Salterton Traffic Group, chaired by Councillor John Shiel, it appears that charges for the High Street and Fore Street would not even recoup the cost of installing the meters and enforcing the system.”

Budleigh Salterton Town Council has welcomed a decision to introduce pay and display parking along Coastguard Hill and Marine Parade – saying the move would thwart overnight campervans.

l Would Budleigh benefit from High Street parking meters? Email becca.gliddon@archant.co.uk with your views.

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