Friday, May 16, 2014
District council is introducing special fees to help boost town centre trade
Special parking fees are being introduced in Axminster this summer to help boost town centre trade.
The six month trial has been agreed by East Devon District Council in response to calls from the town’s chamber of commerce
Subject to certain conditions, there will be a tariff of £2 maximum charge for parking after 10am and for the rest of that day in any of EDDC’s pay and display car parks in Axminster.
Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We currently own and operate pay and display car parks in West Street, South Street, Coombe Lane and Poplar Mount. Whilst Coombe Lane is currently available to residents, visitors and commuters at a low tariff - £1.50 per day - our long stay car parks at West Street and Poplar Mount charge visitors £1 per hour - £3 all day - and our short stay car parks in West Street and South Street charge £1 per hour, right to up a £10 maximum daily charge.
“The Chamber of Commerce have told us that town centre business reported a considerable benefit arising from our Christmas 2013 offer, which capped the maximum daily charge in all car parks to just £2. That offer was designed to encourage visitors to spend more time, and perhaps money, in the town without having to worry about rushing back to a car park because their pay and display session was about to end.”
Cllr Chubb explained that the offer started from 10am to avoid any possibility of premium parking spaces designed primarily for visitors and shoppers becoming blocked by people commuting into town to work – or even using the car park as a cheap park-and ride-facility enabling them to take a train to Exeter or even London for the day.
He added: “We have looked in some detail at the pattern of use of Axminster’s car parks and, whilst the analysis shows a very healthy rate of turnover of spaces, the average transaction in the main car parks - South Street and West Street short stay - is actually £1.10 and £1.11 respectively. Very few of Axminster’s visitors seem to be tempted to stay longer.
“We have therefore decided to see how motorists react to the £2 cap from 10 am. There is a chance that we will lose revenue but it’s also possible that patterns of parking may change and we could break even. There are some unknown quantities here, but we think it is worth testing the water