Charges undermining the

PUBLISHED: 15:17 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:34 16 June 2010

I am concerned that EDDC s policy on car parking is undermining local independent retailers, contributing to traffic congestion in the town and resulting in hazards to pedestrians and motorists.  I would like to raise a few issues that I believe should b

I am concerned that EDDC's policy on car parking is undermining local independent retailers, contributing to traffic congestion in the town and resulting in hazards to pedestrians and motorists.

I would like to raise a few issues that I believe should be taken into consideration in the council's policy decisions on car parking in Honiton.

Free parking is so important to people's shopping habits that supermarkets are happy to provide it at all their stores. They must be extremely pleased that customers are coming their way because they have to pay for parking to shop at local town centres. Short term (say one or two hours) free parking in all car parks would encourage people to visit the town and actually shop in the town.

People are reluctant to pay 85p to park just to make a brief visit (eg to the post office, bank, etc), this results in cars being illegally parked, usually in dangerous places, whilst their owners dash into the post office, cashpoint etc, then back into their cars and are off.

If free short term parking were available, they may linger long enough to visit many more town centre retailers, rather than put pedestrians, other motorists and themselves at risk. There is short term free parking along the High Street. This results in motorists driving up and down the High Street searching for a space. This daily procession of slow moving, suddenly stopping, sideways looking distracted motorists is dangerous and contributes significantly to the traffic congestion in the town. Similar free parking in car parks would negate the need for this free parking search and the hazards and congestion associated with it.

There are 487 car parking spaces in Honiton. Assuming that all of these were occupied for 10hrs a day, 305 days a year at 85p per hour, a total of £1,262,547.50 would be raised. This is a very optimistic sum, when taking into consideration the number of permit holders, empty spaces, people paying £2.55 for all day parking in short term car parks etc - considerably less that the £2.7m you quoted as the income from car parking charges.

I presume, therefore, that the difference is made up by fines. These fines are likely to remain essentially unchanged by allowing short term free parking, as people will still overstay. What would the increase in Council Tax be to allow for one or two hour free parking? Perhaps residents would accept a small rise in tax in return for a concession on car parking. Perhaps we should be asked?

Without a thriving town centre, towns will die. Shops will close, followed by cafes and restaurants. Local producers and suppliers will go out of business.

All that will be left is a boarded up high street and an out of town retail park / supermarket / burger chain.

Is the money really more important than the town itself?

Tim Thornburn

By email


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Midweek Herald