New charges couldn’t come at a worse time says Deputy Mayor

A kick in the teeth for traders, says Vernon Whitlock.

THE decision by Devon County Council to introduce on-street parking charges in High Street could not have come at a worse time and “beggars belief”, according to the town’s deputy mayor.

Councillor Vernon Whitlock says it is “a kick in the teeth” for Honiton, at a time when the town’s business community is recovering from recession.

He told the Midweek Herald: “The decision comes at the same time as we are experiencing the largest cut in public spending in a generation beggars belief.

“This decision has been made without any consultation and no consideration to its effect on High Street shops and shoppers. It is a kick in the teeth for a recovering High Street.

“Over the past months, High Street traders have battled against the recession, high rents and the highest car park fees in the area.

“Unlike many other towns, they have managed to maintain a High Street which has a lot to offer and which rightly draws shoppers from a wide area. The recent Turn Honiton Pink day, organised by the chamber of commerce, was a tremendous success and showed our High Street at its best.”

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Councillor Whitlock says the charges add up to “bad economics” and that they must be challenged.

“The decision to charge shoppers to park in the High Street, at a time when we are told that we should be encouraging small businesses, is bad economics and must be challenged,” he said.

“I will raise this at the town council next month and suggest that we invite other East Devon Towns to join with us and the chamber of commerce to meet with the county council in an attempt to get this stopped.”

Parking meters have recently been installed along Seaton seafront, despite strong opposition from local residents.

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