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SEATON: Traders hit out at new parking fees
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Nigel Groves: ‘I think it is disgraceful’
ANGRY Beer traders have hit out at the decision by East Devon District Council to impose 24 hours parking charges in the central long stay car park.
Andy Williams, owner and chef of Steamer’s restaurant, and Nigel Groves, who runs the post office and is a group scout leader with the 1st Beer Scouts & Axe Air Explorers, quickly denounced the move that was unilaterally taken over the weekend.
Indeed, the move to scrap free parking in the evening was taken without any consolation with Beer Parish Council whose members, including East Devon District representative Geoff Pook, were clearly shocked to learn the news from Mr Groves at their annual meeting on Tuesday night.
“I think it is disgraceful,” said Mr Groves.
“Are they trying to ruin the businesses of Beer?
“I have talked to the owner of Steamers and the people at the off-license and we are all very upset about it.
“I have people who come to help with the Scouts in the evening who will now have to pay to park their cars in the evening along with everyone else who wants to visit the village.
“How can East Devon implement this without any consultation?”
Previously visitors to Beer in the evening could take advantage of free parking in the main village car park from 6pm until 8am but now they face charges of 50p per 30 minutes or £6 for 24 hours.
“As a business owner I cannot see any benefits at all to me,” said Mr Williams.
“I get customers in the evening from Sidmouth, Seaton, Honiton and Lyme Regis who would previously get free parking in the evening and now it is going to cost them £3 and that is a problem.
“It is the principle of it and I cannot see it helping us at all.
“How much will it damage my business?
“I can’t say at the moment until it happens but I do know that when they withdrew free (daytime) parking in the car park during the winter months, it definitely had an adverse impact of the number of lunches we served.”
Councillor Pook vowed to take up the matter with the district council officials and Mr Groves said the village businesses were determined to fight the new charges.
“So far I have been told that the council put up the wrong sign five years ago, so we have been spared paying for that period, but we are not prepared to let this go,” added Mr Groves.
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