No demand for freebie

PUBLISHED: 14:08 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:26 11 June 2010

THERE was no need to offer free car parking in Honiton in the run-up to Christmas, because there was no demand for concessions and car parks were often full. Shoppers did not desert the town, according to East Devon District Council. It is upbeat about t

THERE was no need to offer free car parking in Honiton in the run-up to Christmas, because there was no demand for concessions and car parks were often full.Shoppers did not desert the town, according to East Devon District Council. It is upbeat about the festive period - even though thousands of shoppers travelled into Exeter to visit the new, £200million Princesshay development.In neighbouring West Dorset, car parks in Bridport were free after 1pm on Saturdays leading up to December 25.Council chiefs in East Devon say they will review their decision for this year - but only if it comes to light that car parks in Honiton were empty or half empty in the run-up to Christmas in 2007."East Devon District Council is always keen to promote the economy of the area and to assist the retailers in the communities of East Devon," said a spokesperson."However, there is no evidence of a need to reduce or waive car park charges in December, as car parks are busy and frequently full - demonstrating that shoppers are not deserting our towns."The spokesperson said the council would be happy to reconsider if evidence was produced to show that car parks were empty or half empty.Referring to a report in the Midweek Herald's sister paper, the Sidmouth Herald, the spokesperson added: "Ottery enjoyed an excellent Christmas business-wise and this suggests that parking fees did not deter shoppers."WHAT do you think? Write to your Herald at the address on page 2 or email the editor (belinda.bennett@archant.co.uk).

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