Proposed tariff increase at three Exmouth car parks 'fleecing' motorists, says angry councillor
PUBLISHED: 11:44 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 24 September 2019
Motorists could have to stump up an extra 50p to park in three Exmouth areas under new plans to help the district council rake in an extra £100,000 per year.
Free evening parking could also be a thing of the past if a tariff from 5pm to 9pm is sanctioned by district bosses.
More than 500 parking spots could be affected by the new parking tariffs, which have been proposed in Cabinet agenda papers published by East Devon District Council.
The proposed car parks are London Inn, Queen's Drive and Imperial Road.
The council will discuss the plans when it meets on Wednesday, October 2.
The move has been criticised by Councillor Bruce de Saram, who accused the council of 'fleecing' motorists and putting 'the final nail in the coffin' for struggling businesses in the town.
Cllr de Saram said: "It's absolute madness that the Independent administration at East Devon should even be contemplating hiking car park charges by up to 50 per cent.
"This could spell disaster for our town centre here in Exmouth whose businesses rely on local residents' footfall as well as visitors. These proposed astronomical charges along with introduction of pay-and-display in important local centres could drive the final nail in the coffin for those already struggling to keep their heads above the water."
An evening charge has been suggested to clamp down on 'unregulated' free parking in car parks after 6pm.
EDDC wants to charge a flat rate of £1 between 5pm and 9pm at the town's London Inn car park, Exmouth Pavilion car park and Imperial Road car park.
The authority says this will make a 'proportionate contribution' to management, enforcement and car park wear-and-tear costs.
The council's Cabinet papers said some of the additional revenue generated from the new tariffs could be reinvested to help accelerate its programme of delivering charging infrastructure locally.
The papers say: "The £1 per hour tariff has been in place now since 2010 and we have consistently resisted increasing it to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible support for our town centre economies.
"However, we are under increasing pressure to review our activities and move to a position where we are managing all of our car parking assets responsibly and transparently."