A petition calling for the rise in Torbay’s parking charges to be reversed collected more than 600 supporters. Summer parking charges were introduced to Torbay Council car parks and to on-street spaces recently and it now costs £1 to park for just 30 minutes.
The petition Stop Parking Rises in Torbay on the Change.org website was started by Simon Lee, from Torquay, who said the charges ‘will not only damage businesses in our towns, it will stop locals and visitors alike from coming’. The introduction to the petition said: “Parking charges are one of the top 10 things people search for when travelling. When they see the prices, it will all be about paying £10 to park to go to the beach for the day.
“Business are already suffering, parking cannot be the cash cow that Torbay Council wants it to be. Already we are seeing more and more meters on our streets, more and more restrictions. The council has a responsibility to make Torbay flourish and support local businesses. Not only this, but 24 hour charges are a way to really put anybody off, even going to a restaurant in the evening costs more and more. These local businesses employ people and keep the burden of benefits on the taxpayer down.
“This decision needs to be reversed and parking charges taken out in places, especially on street. Instead limited waiting bays, with fair and consistent enforcement to turn over these bays are needed, giving free parking to those who want to spend their money locally. Together we can make our voices heard and make a difference.”
The petition will be delivered to Torbay Council and Torbay MP Kevin Foster. Many of the people who have signed the petition gave their reason for doing so. Martin Rainey of Torquay said: “Local people need low rate parking because of low rate incomes.” Jordan Brett of Paignton said: “It’s too expensive.” Dijon Ward of Torquay called the charges ‘extortionate and unacceptable’. Teresa Louth of Paignton said: “The parking charges are killing our towns off.” Laura Fellows of Paignton said: “Increased parking will discourage locals and visitors alike from staying in our towns.” Katrina Wise of Brixham said: “Parking charges in Torbay are too high already.” Peter Godfrey of Paignton said the council was ‘driving people out of Torbay’
Gemma Guppy of Torquay said: “I’ve stopped using town as the parking costs are already too high for me. I would rather go to a supermarket or somewhere like The Willows or Kingsteignton where it’s free to park.” Steven Moore of Torquay said: “It would be nice if Torbay weren’t so greedy with their parking charges.” Andrea Carless of Brixham said: “As a retail owner in Brixham I see first hand how parking charges are destroying the town. Even in central London you can park for free after 6pm. We need cheaper parking and free parking to encourage people to shop in Brixham. Otherwise the town will die. It is the number one complaint from people I talk to, from locals and people who visit our town.” Norman Rawkins of Torquay said: “The parking charges have been increasing steadily year on year and we have carried on paying them. But this is a step too far.”
Ray Cashmore of Redditch said: “I visit Torbay as often as I can at least four weeks per year to holiday and have done for the last 20 years. Accommodation is very expensive and with the continual price increases for food and entertainment this increase will be the final reason we (and many others) may look elsewhere for our holidays. Going abroad is looking much more financially attractive now but how we will miss your beautiful bay.”
At the time of writing, a DevonLive poll on the issue showed that almost all voters were against the new parking charges. Just five per cent said that Torbay Council needs the money, the rise was not too much to ask and also encouraged greener travel. An overwhelming 95 per cent said the rise would be bad for residents and businesses and would put off visitors.
Original Story by Caroline Abbott in the Herald Express
Reproduced by kind permission of author/publisher
Comments from Brixham Traders
Jake owner of Fairalls Fruit & Veg shop: “This will kill the town centre, this will turn off our local trade. This will kill off an already dying town” Fairalls is one of Brixhams best local shops and relies heavily on customers who make short visits to the town, but does not believe they will pay a £1 for ½ hour
Phil owner of Busters Toy Shop: “Not fair on traders, not fair on the consumer”
Kelly owner of Simply Fish: “This is a nightmare scenario, particularly for the evening trade” Kelly and Robert have just made a major investment in the town with the new Bistro, and find the new tariff structure detrimental to their trade / business
Serena owner of Latitude Clothing Co.: “Kill business, kill the town. Residents will think twice about coming into town and spending money” Serena has just made a major investment in the town by re locating her shop onto Fore St. She wonders how the new tariff system can be of any support to her business
Wayne store manager at Lloyd Maunders butchers: “Detrimental effect on town centre trade and in particular those people coming in for low value quick purchases eg £3.99 chicken. Will drive customers to new Sainsbury Local and Costcutter with free parking.”
Mark store manager at Tesco Express: “Could impact on future investment in the store because of lack of consistency and strategy. This will force people out of town rather than into town. This will push locals to the new Sainsbury rather than come into town which will not only impact on Tesco but on the other businesses that the customers might visit in addition to their visit to Tesco. Bad for our turnover, bad for other traders bad for council income from car parking”
Mark & Jo owners of TwitTwoo:” This will have a dramatic negative impact on our business. It will reduce dwell time in our store and in the town generally. Will put residents off coming into town. The £1.00 tariff will put loads off popping into town. The current tariff structure is great as it actively encourages peole to come into town, we thought the council had finally come up with a parking tariff that was both fair and had longevity. The night time tariffs and timings can only be detrimental to our already struggling night time economy. When will we see the investment in new signage, line marking, re-surfacing?”
Peter sales assistant and Brixham resident: “Highway robbery, locals will not come into town”
Sue owner of Brixham shoe repairs: “Damn disgusting (Sue used other unprintable words in the first instance), council seem hell bent on ruining trade in Brixham, they want to stop people from coming into town. They are driving locals out of town. The tariffs are ridiculous, I have many friends who live in and around Brixham who just don’t come into town anymore, its too expensive and very little to shop. It’s the death knell of the town”