Seaton car park price hike could hurt business but free coach parking could boost tourism

PUBLISHED: 16:08 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 04 October 2019

Orchard car park at Seaton. Picture Chris Carson

Orchard car park at Seaton. Picture Chris Carson

Archant

Proposals to hike the price of parking in a Seaton car park could damage trade in the town, according to district councillors.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) cabinet agreed on Wednesday (October 2) to launch a consultation on proposals which could see the price of parking in the Orchard car park rise from £1 to £1.20 per hour.

The hike would also affect Lace Walk car park in Honiton and West Street short-stay car park in Axminster.

EDDC says its district-wide proposals will increase revenue for the authority by between £300,000 and £400,000 and will encourage people to use less popular alternative car parks.

At its meeting on Wednesday (October 2), the cabinet also agreed to introduce free parking at Seaton's coach park on a 12-month trial basis.

Cllr Jack Rowland, ward member for Seaton, said price hikes at Orchard Car Park could have a detrimental impact on businesses in that area of the town.

He said footfall in the Orchard Car Park area of town has dropped since the old post office closed.

Cllr Rowland said: "This actual car park is the one which is closest to the part of the town where retailers have been suffering the most and that is my biggest concern.

"This is going to do nothing to help that situation.

"I'm really concerned that this could be a short sighted opinion and could lose us businesses."

Cllr Dan Ledger, also a ward member for Seaton, said: "Orchard car park is the busiest in Seaton as it is the main car park for the high street.

"The alternatives are Seaton Jurassic which is the main car park for tourist attractions and Underfleet West which is across from Seaton Jurassic.

"Neither of these alternatives are close to the town centre and they are a trek uphill to get to the main shopping areas especially for our elderly residents.

"These proposals will not push people into alternative car parks, they will go to private car parks that are available closer to town at the same £1 rate."

All three ward councillors for Seaton welcomed the decision to offer free parking at the town's coach park.

Cllr Marcus Hartnell said: "I think this is an excellent example of how we can use our assets to support the local economy.

"It's an excellent example of how we can work with our town and county councils to boost the local economy."

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