Parking price hike consultation put on hold
PUBLISHED: 11:30 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:42 25 October 2019
Controversial plans to introduce a 20 per cent hike in car parking charges in East Devon have been sent back to district decision makers.
East Devon District Council's cabinet earlier this month agreed to start a consultation process on plans to increase the hourly rate from £1 to £1.20 in some of the regions busiest car parks.
This decision was 'called in' by the scrutiny committee which can request to discuss decisions made by cabinet prior to implementation.
At an extraordinary meeting on Thursday (October 24), scrutiny members agreed to send the decision back to cabinet, asking for a report from a newly-created parking sub-committee to be considered before making a decision.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Geoff Pook said cabinet would consider a report from the subcommittee, known as the parking task and finish forum (TAFF), but that the council still needs to balance to books.
This resolution came 24 hours after a motion was passed at full council to ensure decisions on parking matters would have to be decided by the whole council rather than just the cabinet.
Cllr Jack Rowland called for the TAFF to look at parking charges 'quickly'.
He said: "There is going to be potential £300,000 shortfall and there is an onus on this council to end up with a balanced budget."
Cllr Kathy Gardner said: "The decision to proceed with a consultation without a full investigation seems completely inappropriate."
Cllr Paul Millar, who put forward a motion a full council on Wednesday (October 23) to take the final decision out of cabinet's hands, said: "The TAFF's main objective should be to find a range of options that can go out to consultation."
Cllr Pook said the council needs to finds additional income before presenting its budget for 2020-21.
He said: "The cabinet will be welcoming the report to come back and the ideas of all the councillors."
Cllr Pook said this is not a 'parochial' matter and that it affects the district council as a whole.
He said: "Looking at car parking, we must not have partisanship."
The scrutiny committee voted to send the decision back to cabinet.