In his latest weekly column (see tomorrow’s Journal) Simon Jupp repeats his criticism (made last March and repeated in September) of EDDC putting up car parking charges.
No mention of the fact that Devon County Council has also put up its car parking charges, nor of the whopping increases in taxation his Government has just imposed.
Aren’t there are more significant “price hikes” that “must be reversed”?
Or is this all you can think of?
Simon, you must be running out of ideas – Owl
Weekly column: EDDC’s damaging parking price hikes must be reversed
The definition of ‘insanity’ is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet despite a damning East Devon District Council report into their daft decision to double the price of parking, ruling councillors plan to rubber stamp prices staying at £2 an hour next peak season.
EDDC is led by the East Devon Alliance Party alongside the Liberal Democrats, Greens and one Independent. Ruling councillors from this dysfunctional coalition insisted the parking price hikes were necessary to bring in extra revenue to council coffers.
Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce warned about the impact of the parking price hikes after nearly 2,000 people signed petitions against the plans. Arrogantly, the petitions were ignored by the council. The Chamber also ran a business survey which paints a bleak picture. 80% of businesses surveyed said that the car parking charges had affected their business or may have. 70% said their trade was lower than anticipated. One visitor commented, “Wouldn’t visit East Devon again. We are shocked at the increase in parking charges.”
I have spoken to businesses in Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth. They are annoyed the parking price hikes were pushed through without consultation, ignoring government advice.
EDDC have the evidence that doubling the price of parking in 2022 has been nothing short of disastrous. During peak season, more drivers used the car parks in 2021 than 2022. That’s despite national Covid restrictions continuing into July 2021.
Their justification for these high charges continuing from April 2023 is “income supports the delivery of other services… and will also help the council achieve its ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.”
The council did introduce a residents parking pass, presumably because they realised they’ve priced local people on low incomes out of our town centres. I won’t applaud them for trying to mitigate their own policy whilst also forgetting that our local economy relies on tourism.
Ruling councillors need to read their damning report, wake up to their spectacular own goal and reverse their decision. Let’s finally see some common sense from councillors running the council.
This column first appeared in the Exmouth Journal on Wednesday 30th November 2022 and in the Sidmouth Herald later in the week.