New ideas to add value to East Devon's car parks

Electric charging point sign

Electric charging points could soon be introduced at some East Devon car parks - Credit: Ranckin Japan

Plans to install electric vehicle charging points across seven car parks in East Devon are set to go before the district council’s cabinet.

This is one of a number of projects recommended for approval or investigation by the authority’s Car Parking Task and Finish Forum, known as TAFF.

An investigation into how the car parks can be used at off-peak times, such as the occasional evening cinema, farmers market or car boot sales has also been recommended by TAFF.

It is hoped it could generate additional income while also providing services that residents and visitors can enjoy, without encroaching on existing businesses.

TAFF is also keen to look at whether a small area of some car parks could be considered for hiring out electric bicycles for residents and visitors.

The group has also recommended that a number of contactless machines are trialled to minimise the need for residents to touch buttons while paying for parking.

If given the go-ahead by Cabinet, the first part of the project will see charging points installed across seven car parks that are able to serve 14 vehicles at a time.

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TAFF hopes the charging points will serve both residents and visitors alike, whilst reducing carbon emissions as the public moves to using more electric and hybrid vehicles – supporting the EDDC emergency climate declaration and action plan.

The installation of the charging points comes as part of the Innovate UK funded Exeter Rapid Charging Project to install and operate up to 30 further rapid charging units in EDDC’s public car parks in 2021.

TAFF has also supported further plans for another six or seven car parks to be considered for future expansion of charging points to meet any gaps in provision.

Drivers will need to pay to use the charging points but will not have to pay for parking as long as they don’t exceed their charging time.

Councillor Val Ranger, who is the vice-chairman of the Car Parking TAFF and ward councillor for Newton Poppleford and Harpford, said:

“TAFF have been working to ensure that public car parks owned by EDDC are effectively managed and providing a valuable service whilst paying for themselves.”

TAFF will also be reconsidering the signage at car parks, and fitting more prominent and clearly worded signs to advise residents of the lower cost options available to them such as annual permits.

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