Campaigners call for MP’s support

A campaign to get Marine Parade’s seafront parking meters removed has snowballed, with a town-wide petition swelling to more than 700 signatures in just three weeks. The success of the campaign, driven by nearly 40 Budleigh Salterton businesses, has led campaigners to lobby East Devon MP Hugo Swire and call for his support.

Parking meters were installed by Devon County Council last summer to facilitate a residents’ parking permit scheme and to stop campervans parking on the seafront overnight.

Previously, restrictions were only enforced during peak season and daylight hours; but the new measures are 365 days a year and 24-hours-a-day, and traders say it is ruining business.

A poll of 40 businesses revealed that most believed that parking policy had harmed trade and 89 per cent said that their business would benefit if parking controls were ‘relaxed’.

Signatories to the petition also believe that parking enforcement officers target the town more frequently than other areas, a claim which is denied by the district council.

The campaigners want parking patrols relaxed, the meters removed and stays extended from two to four hours.

They are calling for the length of time drivers can park in Mackerel Square extended to two hours.

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In the letter to Mr Swire, Angel Yarwood, from the Brook Gallery, wrote: “I have seen a recent significant fall in footfall and trade.

“Each day that goes by with these controls in place, is another day that will continue to turn away our visitors to the town, and affect our trade. Since the regularity with which the traffic enforcement officers patrol has been significantly increased over the last year… and the installation of parking meters on our beautiful sea front, footfall in the town has decreased significantly.

“This petition… reflects the feeling of the vast majority of Budleigh’s residents and visitors.”

She told the Journal: “I cannot sustain my business as the town is now.

“This is not just me having a bee in my bonnet; for me and other traders it’s a matter of survival.”

Mike Clarke, of Plume, said: “At minimum, we would like the parking meters removed. Ideally we want parking restrictions relaxed and extended from two to four hours.”

“The town’s shops cannot survive just with the customers who live in walking distance from the town centre.”

? The petition is available in shops including The Brook Gallery, Plume, The Cosy Tea Pot, Bradleys and the Ocean House Caf�.