Council plans to develop car park behind Honiton community centre into paying facility
PUBLISHED: 12:45 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:22 02 March 2018
Visitors to The Beehive community centre in Honiton could soon have to pay to use the car park behind it.
Councillors approved a motion to develop the car park, which is currently free, into a paying facility at meeting on Tuesday evening (February 27).
Councillor John Taylor submitted a report to the council in which he voiced concerns that the Dowell Street-based car park falls into section 1.1a of Government guidance on car parks.
His report said: “[This section is] namely car parks open for use by the general public and forming a separate hereditament for rating purposes.
“The car park is separate from the Community Centre Building (CCB) building and that is stated in the land transfer document that specifies it must not be used to support the activities within the CCB.”
Cllr Taylor’s report said it is ‘probable that the car park should have attracted rates’, since East Devon District Council pays rates on its own car parks.
Speaking on Tuesday night, Cllr Taylor said: “I propose that we have to find the rateable value and the rates thereon, and then have to recoup them and look at the costs.”
Cllr Taylor said the costs must include putting aside reserves to repair the car park in the future, as he noted it is beginning to show signs of wear.
Cllr Sheila Edwards told the meeting the council needed to embark on a feasibility study first.
She said: “You are asking us to put in charges willy-nilly. We have no costings.
“We do not know how much the car park is being used.”
Cllr John Zarczynski said: “Since the Beehive opened its doors, it has enjoyed the benefits of a free car park.
“As you all know, the council has supported the Beehive right from day one.
Cllr Zarczynski told councillors needed to look at the Covenant and terms of the Land Transfer Agreement adding: “We are not here to serve the Beehive – we are here to serve the ratepayers of Honiton.
“What we must also consider is East Devon District Council has a new policy now that they expect each council to capitalise on their assets.
“We have got an asset in the car park, and we could raise a reasonable income from it.”
The motion ‘that members resolve to develop the Beehive car park into a paying facility and instruct officers to bring a proposal for consideration to a full meeting later this year’ was carried by 11 votes for and two against.
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