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Council parking schemes clashing in Exmouth

Monday, 8 January 2024 08:25

By local democracy reporter, Will Goddard

Imperial Road car park, Exmouth (LDRS/ Will Goddard)

Winter deal vs resident permits

Two different parking schemes from two different councils are clashing in Exmouth and “were brought in without full consideration of the effects on each other,” according to an East Devon councillor. 

Cllr Ben Ingham (Conservative, Woodbury and Lympstone) told East Devon District Council’s cabinet this week that EDDC’s all-day £2 winter car park deal and a new Devon County Council resident permit holders’ scheme “are laudable but together are causing a problem.”

The county council’s new permit parking zones in parts of Exmouth came into effect in August. The district council’s all-day £2 winter car park offer, which has also been available in previous years, began in November and will run until the end of March.  

Cllr Ingham said: “Whilst the Exmouth residential parking scheme is working for residents within the town, the introduction of the £2 per day parking charge in EDDC car parks has raised an unexpected issue for shoppers and those wishing to use the sports facility at the Exmouth LED. 

“As soon as residents’ parking came in, commuters filled the long-stay car park behind the station and therefore residents wanting to go to Exeter for leisure could not park.  

“The £2 fee has now meant the short-term car park by the leisure centre is now jammed for all day but not by shoppers. 

“The repercussions of this are shoppers cannot park so go elsewhere, gym users cannot park, and annual permit holders cannot park which negates the purpose of having a permit, meanwhile the coach and lorry park remains a largely empty space.” 

In response, leader of EDDC Cllr Paul Arnott (Lib Dem, Coly Valley) said the matter will be raised at the next cabinet meeting. 

He replied: “I think a difficulty has been created with Devon County Council pushing ahead with their own changes and that was done with very little consultation with us as a council.  

“However, we’ve been very aware throughout December, I’ve been personally aware of this as well, that we need to look at what the law of unintended consequences is around the £2 offer.  

“Now obviously it’s been welcomed hugely by businesses across the district, but we don’t want it to have any negative effects.  

“So therefore, I’m able to advise that our parking officer will be bringing a report to the next cabinet [meeting] in February.” 

EDDC also apologised for the situation last month. 

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said: “Residents’ parking in the Colonies area and parts of St Andrews Road was introduced following a consultation and concerns raised by local residents who were experiencing difficulties with the current on-street parking arrangements.  

“The scheme aims to remove all-day commuter parking in residential areas and ensures that residents have priority to park within their own area.” 

Exmouth residents and visiting tourists are at risk of penalty notices if they buy parking tickets on the wrong side of the road along the seafront on Queen’s Drive. The road closest to the beach is operated by Devon County Council; the opposite side is run by East Devon. Charges are different on each side of the road, and anyone crossing over to pay their fee on the other side is at risk of a traffic warden’s wrath.

Some years ago, a whole line of vehicles was ticketed when some parking meters on one side of the road were out of order.

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