Free car park in Honiton set to become pay-and-display if recommendation is approved this week

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 December 2018

The Honiton Beehive. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 2243-34-14AW

The Honiton Beehive. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 2243-34-14AW

Archant

Car parking charges for the car park behind the Beehive Community Centre in Honiton are set to be introduced for the first time.

The car park, on Dowell Street, is currently free for users, but East Devon District Council’s cabinet are being recommended to introduce pay-and-display parking.

It follows the realisation that the car park fell into a section of UK Government guidance that means that business rates should have been paid by the town council on the car park.

Honiton Town Council had asked the district council to manage the Dowell Street car park, and the cabinet, when they meet this Wednesday, are asked to endorse the proposal for the town council to lease the car park to the district council, so they can manage it as a district council branded pay-and-display car park.

The report of Andrew Ennis, service lead for environmental health and car parks, said: “The town council recognises its duty to manage the Dowell Street car park asset responsibly and to realise its income generating potential to ensure that management and future maintenance costs will be met.

“This aspiration is especially pertinent recognising the level of demand that now exists because of the activities now taking place within the popular and successful Honiton Community Complex on the ground floor of the Beehive building and the observation that the car park is well used and often full to capacity at peak times.

“However, the town council also recognises the importance of the car park facility in supporting the activities within the Community Complex and has asked us to be careful to balance these two elements within our proposal.”

The proposal would see parking charges mirror the adjacent Lace Walk short stay car park, with charges of 50p for 30 minutes, £1 per hour, with a maximum charge of £10. Charges would apply only between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday, with the car park being free of charge overnight, on Sundays, and on bank holidays.

East Devon District Council would provide and install the tariff boards and the pay-and-display machine.

Disabled blue badge holders would not be exempt from charges, unless they are parked in a designated disabled bay for no longer than three hours.

Current East Devon District Council parking permits would not be valid in the car park, but a regular visitor parking permit will be introduced.

Honiton Town Council will be able request parking charge dispensations or concessions or the reservation of parking bays for specific purposes at their discretion, and three spaces will be reserved solely for the use of town council staff.

Any vehicle that does not display a valid permit or ticket will be liable to be served with a penalty charge.

A new lease arrangement that will provide that the costs to EDDC in repairing and insuring the car park will be off set against any gross profits derived from EDDC managing the car park, with the remaining shared between the two Councils on a 50:50 basis.

The rent for the lease, payable to the Town Council, to be a share of the net profit

Revenue for each council of around £13,750 over five years is expected to be yielded from the car park, once the installation and set-up costs are accounted for.

Mr Ennis’ report added: “There is clearly the potential for this car park to generate significantly higher revenues based on the success of attractions at the Community Complex on the ground floor of the Beehive, but fettered of course by any charging dispensations that we decide are appropriate.”

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