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Parking meters for Sidmouth?

  • by JW

“We need to be able to look again at each town and come up with a comprehensive traffic management plan for each of them.” [Devon County Cllr Stuart Hughes, 2011]


As a reminder, back in 2008, a round table was convened to put together a Traffic Management Plan for Sidmouth. In 2015, further commitments were made, looking for ‘low cost, quick win’ solutions. The VGS had offered a Sidmouth traffic survey and indeed a traffic plan would be underway ‘very shortly’ for Sidmouth – as suggested in 2016.

In the meantime, as of 2020, there has been a traffic management scheme for Ottery

Back in January 2011, Sidmouth parking meter proposals were put ‘on hold’ – in anticipation of a ‘comprehensive traffic management plan’ for the town:

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highways, told the Herald: “One size doesn’t fit all. Each town has its own traffic problems.”

The authority has vowed to work with the town to draw up a detailed traffic management blueprint. Mr Hughes said: “We’re not scrapping this process, we’re simply taking a step back. We need to be able to look again at each town and come up with a comprehensive traffic management plan for each of them. Some form of park/pay and display may well form part of those plans.” 

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce members thanked Mr Hughes for listening and praised Sidmouth town council for opposing proposals and supporting local businesses. Backing and encouragement from town residents was also lauded by commerce chiefs. “The county will have learnt that, in an era of localism, top down dictat does not work. We are sure, with this nonsense behind us, we can make some genuine progress.”

Then in December 2023, the County Council brought in a further consultation on pay and display meters on Sidmouth Esplanade:

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “I understand there may be concerns about Pay & Display, and that is why we have talked to local groups and elected members to ensure that the first hour parking is free. Pay & Display has been in place in many communities in Devon for some years and we believe it is one of the components that is needed to ensure a healthy high street and community. It encourages turnover of parking spaces thereby increasing the availability of town centre parking in busy areas, it reduces congestion and may encourage some to walk and cycle more.”

The consolation on the Proposed Pay and Display measures comes to a close on Sunday 14th January.

The free first hour will remain under these proposals – but the County Council now wants a ‘one size fits all’ regime – whilst Devon businesses say the new on-street parking charges would ‘kill’ their town:

“These proposals aim to bring Braunton, Crediton, Dartmouth, Honiton, Okehampton, Salcombe, Sidmouth and Tavistock into line with Devon’s other larger communities. Pay and display parking is widely used, both across Devon and nationally, with well-established schemes in communities such as Bideford, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Exeter.

Meanwhile, there is confusion and argument going on between the different councils, as parking fees & resident permits are ‘causing a problem’:

Leader of EDDC Cllr Paul Arnott said the matter will be raised at the next cabinet meeting: “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.”

Perhaps a ‘comprehensive traffic management plan’ for Sidmouth might help…