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HONITON: Call for new parking scheme

Thursday, 12 June 2014


TOWN CHAMBER WANTS MAXIMUM DAILY CHARGE TRIAL

A new parking scheme currently being trialled in Axminster must also be introduced in Honiton to help boost trade, the town’s chamber of commerce has argued. The Honiton Chamber is negotiating with East Devon District Council, which runs the car parks, over the introduction of parking concessions, which it has long said would encourage visitors to stay in the town centre for longer. A recently approved trial for a new scheme, which has introduced a £2 maximum daily charge in all pay and display car parks in Axminster after 10am, is now underway. And members of the Honiton Chamber have this week called for a similar scheme to be initiated in the town centre car parks. Colin Wright, chairman of both the Honiton Chamber and the Association of East Devon Chambers of Commerce, told Pulman’s View that the cost of parking had been a long-term problem in Honiton. He said: “We are working closely with EDDC to try to implement some form of parking concession to keep people in the town centre for longer. “The recently approved scheme for Axminster looks like it will be successful and will prevent people having to rush back to their cars. “It is a well thought out scheme which I am sure will promote businesses in the town – Honiton would be looking for something similar, if not in the near future, certainly for the next holiday period.” An alternative to the £2 parking cap would be a ‘pay-on-exit’ barrier system, which the chamber argues could save the district council money in the long term. Mr Wright added: “We realise that car parking issues have been a problem in Honiton for some considerable time and, to be fair to visitors, the Chamber is pressing for and would really like to see a ‘pay-on-exit’ barrier system introduced, especially at the Lace Walk car park. “There would be an initial expense in setting up the system, but it could subsequently be monitored from the Tourist Information Centre – I do not think it will reduce income for EDDC and could possibly increase it. “The market towns of Honiton, Ottery St Mary and Axminster have a different clientele to the coastal towns – holidaymakers will not care about paying a pound an hour but in Honiton we have got to bring in people from outside the town on a regular basis.” A survey conducted by Allhallows Museum in 2012 revealed that 84 per cent of respondents found their time in Honiton restricted by the cost of parking. Margaret Lewis, museum curator and Chamber secretary, said the same problems continued to affect businesses. She said: “I was staggered by the results of that survey and clearly that situation has not changed. “The parking is a serious problem because it means people do not stop for a coffee or to enjoy the town centre – they only come in for what they need. But a £2 cap or ‘pay-on-exit’ scheme would be a Godsend.” The Axminster trial is due to run until the end of October.

Email: jack@pemedia.co.uk

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