Town council's plea to East Devon leader to halt parking consultation

PUBLISHED: 18:00 17 October 2019

Exmouth Town Hall. Ref exe 2525-43-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Exmouth Town Hall. Ref exe 2525-43-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

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A plea has been made to halt a proposal which could see price hikes introduced in three of Exmouth's busiest car parks.

At its October meeting, Exmouth Town Council agreed to write to the district council leader Ben Ingham, imploring him to delay any decision on a consultation.

Last month, East Devon District Council (EDDC) cabinet agreed to launch a consultation on proposals which would see the hourly rate rise from £1 to £1.20 in the Imperial, London Inn and Queen's Drive car parks.

In the wake of that decision, the district council's scrutiny committee agreed to set up a task and finish forum (TAFF) on parking.

EDDC says the proposals will help them manage their car parks more effectively.

A motion, put forward by councillor Paul Millar, asking Cllr Ingham to await the report of the TAFF before making a decision, was supported by the town council.

Town clerk Lisa Bowman will write to Cllr Ingham, expressing the town council's concerns.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Millar acknowledged the district council has a £2.5m 'black hole' to fill but said the proposals do not have 'a shred of credibility'.

He said: "Sadly, the leader and the cabinet are looking at this one-dimensionally, and this is deeply concerning.

"There are potential unintended consequences which officers and portfolio holders have not explored.

"It is in all our interests for Exmouth town centre and small and medium-sized businesses to thrive, and we want everybody in our community to have access to them.

"Turkeys don't vote for Christmas and a consultation opened now would be a waste of taxpayers' money."

An extraordinary meeting of EDDC's scrutiny has been called for Thursday, October 24, after the decision to go to consultation was called in.

The scrutiny committee can request to discuss any decision made by cabinet prior to it being put in place.

This meeting will take place 24 hours after the full council considers a motion, put forward by Cllr Millar, to change EDDC's constitution so that any decisions on parking policy have to be ratified by the full council committee.

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