EDDC forced into rethink over Phear Park car parking charge

Phear Park car park. Ref exe 15 18TI 1221. Picture: Terry Ife

Phear Park car park. Ref exe 15 18TI 1221. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Proposals to introduce parking charges to Phear Park for the first time have been put on hold after the district council were forced into a rethink.

Charges were due to be introduced at the Exmouth park but East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet agreed to look again at the car park after a raft of objections were raised at Wednesday (September 5) night’s meeting.

Councillors were being asked to introduce a pay and display parking management regime in Phear Park in Exmouth with a tariff of 50p per hour and £2 all day.

Cllr Ian Thomas, leader of EDDC, proposed that the change proposed to Phear Park was referred back to officers for further discussion and not to be taken forward.

His proposal was unanimously approved by the cabinet.

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Cllr Jill Elson described the pay-and-display proposals as ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’, adding: “We are trying to open up Phear Park for use by as many people as possible, so I would like the cabinet to ask the Exmouth councillors to look at ways we can manage the issues ourselves.”

Cllr Megan Armstrong said: “I walk my dog there and it’s used by a whole range of ages and seems to be to asking people who already pay their council tax to pay again to park there, which is simply not on. Because it is a park and the only one park that we are looking to do this in, we should not be doing this.”

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John Robins, secretary of Phear Park Bowls Club, said the proposed changes would have a significant financial impact on the club and could cost affect the club’s annual tournament, adding: “To lose the tournament would be a blow towards bowls in Devon and put a big gap in our finances.

“It is sad to think a club that has been on the park since 1911 could be forced to close and I am sure the Phear family who left the park to Exmouth would be in dismay at this turn of events.”

The changes, that will take effect from April 2019, mean it a parking permit will cost £100 rather than £134 a year for use in just one town or village location, with an additional £20, up to a total of £200, for additional towns.

Residents of Colyton, Exmouth and Lympstone, where permits currently cost £40, will be charged £50 in 2019 and £75 in 2020, before reverting to £100 in 2021.

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