Pay-and-display at Temple Street would be final ‘nail in the coffin’ for traders

Temple Street car park in Sidmouth. Ref shs 39 19TI 1669. Picture: Terry Ife

Temple Street car park in Sidmouth. Ref shs 39 19TI 1669. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

‘Ill thought out’ proposals to introduce pay-and-display parking in a free Sidmouth car park would be ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for independent traders.

District councillor Stuart Hughes made the warning as a consultation was launched on introducing a charge to use Temple Street Car Park.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) cabinet agreed to consult residents on the proposals which include increasing the hourly rate at Sidmouth's Ham East, Ham West, Roxburgh and Mill Street car parks from £1 to £1.20.

EDDC says the changes are being proposed to encourage people to park at other less-used car parks and to generate between £300,000 and £400,000 for the authority.

Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday (October 2), Cllr Hughes, ward member for Sidmouth Sidford, called for the 'ill thought out' proposals to be binned.

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He said: "Making the remaining spaces in the Temple Street Car Park 'pay and display' would put the final nail in the coffin of what was once a vibrant local centre which has in recent years has actually seen a slight renaissance."

The EDDC chairman also called for park-and-ride facilities to be introduced across East Devon.

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Cllr Hughes said: "This isn't Exeter, who actually put their car parking up to encourage more shoppers to use park and ride. We haven't got park and ride in Sidmouth, as a matter of fact, there isn't a town in East Devon that has a park-and-ride facility."

EDDC service lead Andrew Ennis said: "It is not unprecedented to bring pay-and-display into an area."

Cllr John Loudoun, ward member for Sidmouth Rural, warned the proposal would increase the amount of people parking on the A375 in Sidbury.

He said: "When you push people out from car parks they will be out on the A375 and it is going to become more and more difficult for people in the village."

EDDC leader Ben Ingham said: "We aren't doing this for fun, we're not doing this to upset our communities, we are doing this to fill a gap that we've inherited.

"If we don't fill the gap, then we will have to explain to those people that their council tax has to be increased."

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