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East Devon is not ‘the most expensive place to park in the South West’

  • by JW

Cornwall, North Devon and Bristol are.

Surrey is not cheap either…

Increasing car parking charges “at a time of unprecedented pressure on essential services”.


Parking charges seem to be destined to always be politically charged – with lots of noise being regularly made in these parts as elsewhere – and the latest being only last month:

East Devon’s car parking charges will not be increasing in April… But Tory leader Cllr Philip Skinner, who represents Tale Vale, is concerned that higher parking rates are negatively impacting local businesses in the district’s major towns such as Exmouth and Sidmouth.

More politicking is currently underway, with the suggestion that Devon car parks are the ‘most expensive in the South West’.

However a search online is a little more nuanced:

According to one source, [private] car parking at the Lakes in the West is £2.50 for two hours and £5 for the whole dayAnother source says that the central car park in South Molton, North Devon, charges £2.50 for all day or £0.60 per hourHowever, a third source reports that car parking fees have increased in some car parks across five towns in East Devon, doubling to £2 an hour in some places.

In which case, East Devon is not the most expensive place to park in the South West. Moreover, it’s Bristol that has the most expensive car parking spaces in the UK, costing more than double the national average.

So, what’s happening? Why the suggestion?

Again, there seems to be a lot of politicking going on.

The agenda for the District Council scrutiny committee meeting for 7th September includes two calls for action from Cllr Mike Goodman, a Conservative member for Sidmouth Sidford:

The cost of parking in East Devon and in particular the coastal areas increased by 100% in 2022. This made our carks the most expensive car parks operated by the Council in the South West. I would like this to be reviewed and overview to consider a policy going forward. I would like the review to be evidence based including the views of businesses.

Before becoming an East Devon councillor, a petition was put together to Stop East Devon increasing Car Park charges by up to 100%. And yet, also before the last District Council elections, the finance portfolio holder clarified the situation:

“Not all of the car parking charges across the district have doubled; some have actually stayed the same, some have done up to £1.15. The prime and most heavily used car parks, they’re the ones that have gone up to £2 [per hour]. As the Conservative group should remember, we’ve already agreed that there won’t be any increases this April for car parking charges, but we will be reviewing those charges next November.”

And interestingly, before becoming an East Devon councillor, the current member for Sidmouth Sidford was a Surrey County Councillor:

22 Nov 2017: Cabinet Member for Environment Mike Goodman on a proposal to charge at some of Surrey County Council’s rural car parks at a time of unprecedented pressure on essential services

Mike Goodman on proposal to charge at rural car parks – YouTube

Mike Goodman discusses the environment and helping to tackle climate change – YouTube