Price hike proposed for main car parks in Honiton and Axminster blasted as 'cash cow' scheme by angry mayor
PUBLISHED: 10:38 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 23 September 2019
Parking tariffs in one of Honiton's and Axminster's main car parks could be increased by 50 pence to help the district council rake in an extra £100,000 per year.
Papers published for East Devon District Council's (EDDC) cabinet meeting on October 2 has revealed a list of car parks across the area where price hikes are proposed.
Honiton's Lace Walk short stay car park, which boasts more than 200 parking spaces, will see its tariffs increase if proposals get the go-ahead at next month's meeting.
The council say these 'high demand' car parks will help alleviate parking stress by encouraging motorists to park in less popular and expensive car parks.
However, the proposed hike has been lambasted by Honiton's mayor, Councillor John Zarczynski, who accused the council of using the town's motorists as 'cash cows'.
Cllr Zarczynski said: "It will have a detrimental effect on the sustainability of our high street shops.
"It is going to drive shoppers to do more shopping at Tesco, Lidl and Aldi. A lot of people will choose to do more online shopping.
"A £1.50 tariff is ridiculous. When parking was 80p and they (EDDC) rounded it off to £1, there was an uproar.
"This is a 50 per cent increase - it is totally unacceptable."
An evening charge has been suggested to clamp down on 'unregulated' free parking in car parks after 6pm.
EDDC wants to charge a flat rate of £1 between 5pm and 9pm at Honiton's Lace Walk short stay car park, Axminster's West Street short stay car park, Seaton's Orchard car park and Beer's Central car park.
The authority says this will make a 'proportionate contribution' to management, enforcement and car park wear-and-tear costs.
Cllr Zarczynski said a lot of families in Honiton have been 'struggling for years' with austerity and will be hit in the wallet should they choose to park in Honiton to shop.
The council's Cabinet papers said some of the additional revenue generated from the new tariffs could be reinvested to help accelerate its programme of delivering charging infrastructure locally.
The papers say: "The £1 per hour tariff has been in place now since 2010 and we have consistently resisted increasing it to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible support for our town centre economies.
"However, we are under increasing pressure to review our activities and move to a position where we are managing all of our car parking assets responsibly and transparently."
The 50p increase has also been proposed in Axminster (West Street short stay car park), Seaton (Orchard car park) and Beer (Central car par - short stay).