Pay and display fears for town's free car park

PUBLISHED: 12:20 22 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:20 22 March 2013

Archant

Motorists may face paying to park in Budleigh's Upper Station Road car park, after the town council's latest offer to rent the site was rejected.

The 109-space car park is currently free to use, with the town council renting it from East Devon District Council for £500 a year, but last year EDDC demanded a hike in the fee to £35,000.

The town council then made a counter offer of £6,500 a year, which it thought was a fair amount. However, it was informed in a letter this week that this has been rejected.

Budleigh mayor Courtney Richards said: “Basically, they are rejecting our offer as it falls short of the revenue they’d expect if it was a paying car park.

“They suggest the residents of Budleigh have enjoyed a subsidised facility not available elsewhere in the district. I don’t agree with that, as the definition of subsidy is them paying us money, and we [the town council] pay them money.”

District bosses say that unless an improved offer is made, either to rent the car park or buy it outright, they will have to consider making it pay and display.

The issue will be discussed at a town council meeting on Monday, but the mayor said he thought it was unlikely the offer would be increased.

However, he does feel that covenants on the car park site, to which the town council is party, along with EDDC and Clinton Devon Estates, could prevent it becoming pay and display, as they preclude the running of the site as a business.

A spokesman for EDDC said: “The council is in ongoing discussions with Budleigh Salterton Town Council about this issue, following a car parks review that covered the whole district. We do not wish to comment further until we have completed negotiations with the town council.”

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