Councillors unaware of plans to charge for Exmouth car park
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 February 2018
Taxpayer money could be wasted after a project to resurface an Exmouth car park was signed off without the oversight of elected representatives.
Councillor Rob Longhurst said he only heard about plans to charge to park at the Pavilion from April 1 because he runs events there.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) chief executive Mark Williams said the income would pay for resurfacing and it could cost to break the contract.
Cabinet members called for the site to be included in an upcoming consultation – which includes a hike in permit fees at Camperdown Terrace that is expected to cause ‘consternation’.
Cllr Longhurst told last Wednesday’s meeting: “This email is the first I’d heard of the charges. It’s going to be 50 pence per half hour. It’s not passed consultation.
“I wonder whether it’s been thought through at all.
“If it’s £10 a day to park, the Pavilion is going to lose £3,000 immediately. Not only will I cancel my bookings – I’m prepared to go to court and sue for breach of contract.”
The car park is free to Pavilion users if they sign in.
Mr Williams said it was an ‘interesting anomaly’ as EDDC thought it had been leased to Pavilion operator LED, so the tariff had not been implemented. He said LED wanted the car park improved and the charges would fund the work.
Mr Williams added: “I need to find out where we’ve got to in letting the contracts and whether we would lose money if it goes to consultation.”
Cllr Eileen Wragg said: “It seems the officers have made a decision and we don’t know what’s going on in the council. This will affect the Pavilion greatly. They are going to lose a lot of revenue.”
The consultation features a proposal to increase the price for parking permits in Camperdown Terrace and Underhill in Lympstone from £40 to £134.
Cllr Ben Ingham said: “To change this charge from £40 to £130 is bordering on ridiculous. National government noticed this sort of thing and said you will not overcharge for car parks – you will make sure the charges cover the costs. I’m warning you, be careful. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Cllr Tom Wright, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “It’s clear it’s going to cause a lot of consternation. That will come out in the consultation.”
EDDC estimates the increases will bring in an additional £30,000 a year.
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