METERS: Plan prompted fresh fears over economy

Business leaders feared on-street parking charges would further impact on struggling town centres.

THE introduction of controversial on-street parking charges across East Devon raised fears about the financial viability of town centres.

At a time when Honiton traders are braced to face fresh competition from two new out-of-town supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl, business leaders feared the charges could have a devastating impact on commerce.

Colin Wright, chairman of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, claimed Devon County Council was jumping on the parking charges bandwagon.

And he disputed claims that the maximum stay of an hour would improve air quality in High Street, which is a designated Air Quality Management Area because of raised levels of pollution.

East Devon District Council currently charges �1 an hour for parking in the town - more than councils in neighbouring South Somerset and West Dorset.

The new charges were proposed at a time when independent shops in Honiton were struggling to recover from the recession.

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More than 2,000 people in the town signed a petition opposing the charges.

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