Parking policies are killing business in Brixham, it has been claimed. Business owners say ‘poor decision-making’ by Torbay Council has had a ‘detrimental effect on trade’ in the town — putting some businesses at risk.
Members of the public using the Brixham central car park have two choices — pay 50p to stay for 30 minutes or £2 for four hours.
Brixham Chamber of Commerce vice-chairman Keith Williams, who owns Kaba-Kaboo in Fore Street, said the decision to remove options on parking periods had led to a downturn in revenue from the car park and a decrease in footfall for the town’s businesses.
He said: “Traders are fuming about the parking arrangements. The attempts to maximise profits without due consideration has failed. For most people, half-an-hour is not long enough to visit the shops, but four hours is too long. They have been choosing not to pay the £2 fee and are going elsewhere.
“Having had discussions in the summer with the council about parking issues, the chamber is appalled at the mismanagement of parking policy in the town. They do not appear to have taken on board any of the information or advice provided by local businesses in Brixham. Many businesses have reported poor trading figures in the run-up to Christmas and we have seen the central car park less than half full at key trading periods. There is no doubt that recent parking policy has resulted in a sharp downturn and put at risk the viability of some local businesses. The underlying problem that Brixham faces every summer is also a chronic lack of parking spaces to support its tourism potential.”
Sam Moore, whose family has two shops in Brixham — Sam’s Soaps in Fore Street and Sam’s Super Saver in Bolton Street, said the parking situation had ‘certainly’ affected footfall. She said: “We get local customers who don’t use the car park but if we relied on trade from people using the car park our takings would be a lot lower. Customers constantly say ‘I’ve only got half-an-hour, I’ve got to go back’. There’s no time to browse in half-an-hour. I’d like to see £1 tickets for a longer period available. The car park is vital to us. The only way we can get people into our town is to sort out the parking.”
Serena Jury, who owns Latitude Clothing in Middle Street, said: “Parking charges are affecting businesses as a lot of people aren’t bothering to come into town as often. Customers tell me so. It was particularly noticeable over the Christmas period. There needs to be a wider range of time periods to meet all needs. It’s good the council is planning to do a review and I welcome the opportunity to have my say.”
A full review of car parking across Torbay is set to take place after the council’s priority and resources review panel last week unanimously recommended that one should take place.
It will involve ‘all stakeholders and appropriate consultation’ but no date has been given.