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Car park fee hikes increase council revenue

Monday, 27 November 2023 08:20

By local democracy reporter, Will Goddard

Imperial Road short-stay car park, Exmouth (Image: Google)

Despite summer sales being down

Car park fee hikes have brought in an extra £1 million for East Devon District Council (EDDC) from April to October each year, according to a cabinet report. 

Parking charges in the area went up for the first time in 10 years in April 2022.  Some tariffs doubled from £1 to £2 per hour in short-stay car parks. 

In 2021, gross council car park revenue from its summer season between April and October was just under £2.5 million.  

In 2022 and 2023, it rose to over £3.5 million each year. 

Summer ticket sales have gone down year on year, but revenue has grown. 

This year saw a “very small” rise of £2,600 overall compared to last year. Takings dropped in July and August , possibly because of poor weather, but the normally quieter months before and after increased. 

There has also been a shift in the type of car park people use.  

More motorists are reportedly paying for longer stays in EDDC long-stay car parks and staying for shorter amounts of time in short-stay car parks.  

The council claims this is not a problem, as long-stay car parks are larger and so are “well suited to this type of use.”

People are buying more monthly permits too. East Devon residents can also buy £120 annual permits for parking in one town, which increases by £24 for each additional town up to a total of five locations. 

A monthly payment option, introduced last year, is available for this permit type.  

This helps split the upfront cost across the year or allows residents to only buy permits for the months they need. 

Sales of monthly permits have more than doubled since they were brought in, which the report suggests could be down to the cost-of-living crisis, tariff rises or the introduction of residents’ parking zones in Exmouth. 

East Devon District Council is to produce a parking strategy next year, which will set out how car parks “will be holistically used and managed in the coming years”, including pricing and special offers. 

The report recommends councillors keep car park charges in East Devon the same next year and make any future changes in line with this new strategy.

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