Parking charges: the final straw

PUBLISHED: 13:56 25 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:38 15 June 2010

THE latest increase in parking charges in Honiton has moved business leaders to get tough with East Devon District Council.

THE latest increase in parking charges in Honiton has moved business leaders to get tough with East Devon District Council.In a bid to get their complaints about pay and display charges taken seriously at Knowle, they are to gather as much evidence as possible to prove that the fees are harming the town's trade.Business expert Malcolm Sherry told Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry's annual meeting that the problem is "not being addressed seriously enough" by objectors."There has got to be evidence from the town to make a serious case," he said, pointing out parking charges are of concern to business owners across East Devon.The meeting heard that statistics are available to back up claims that reducing parking fees increases business in a community.Mr Sherry advised the chamber to use the Freedom of Information Act to find out how busy car parks in Honiton were in the afternoons during the run-up to Christmas.Traders are upset that the district council offered no concessions, when authorities in neighbouring counties waived parking fees at certain times.The cost of parking in Honiton rose to more than 80p an hour earlier this month. The council has also implemented a minimum fee of 50p.Councillor Vernon Whitlock, the Mayor of Honiton, said: "It would be a worthwhile exercise this year for someone to go around and have a look, to see what the take-up actually is at Christmas."Mr Sherry said tourism was the biggest factor in Honiton's economy and that visitors aren't staying in the town long enough."People are panicking to get back to their cars, rather than enjoying their stay," he said.

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