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Exeter car parks plan thrown out

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

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COMMUTERS and Exeter's Chamber of Commerce are claiming victory in the battle of the car parks.

Following pressure, the city council has decided not to go ahead with its plans to do away with season tickets for its car parks in Howell Road and Magdalen Road, following their re-designation as short stay car parks.

The city council received more than 220 objections to the proposals with the protests being led by workers in Southernhay, and the city's chamber of commerce also made representations.

Many employees of firms in Southernhay claimed that the changes were being made to "accommodate short-term visitors to the city in order to increase revenue rather than looking after the needs of local people who live and work in Exeter".

The volume of complaints forced the council into a re-think and the season tickets are to remain, being available for Mondays to Fridays.

However the re-designation of both car parks and the price increases will go ahead.

The changes were approved by the city's executive this week.

One worker, who asked not to be named but was among those to write to the city council about the changes, said: "I think this is a partial solution.

"I welcome the fact that season ticket holders will now continue to be able to park which will address a lot of concerns expressed by workers, but I still do not believe that making the car parks short stay is necessary.

"I do not believe the demand is there from shoppers although I am willing to be proved wrong."

Derek Phillips, vice president of the chamber, was pleased that the chamber's representations, on behalf of the business community, had resulted in a re-consideration of some aspects of the council's proposals.

Mr Phillips said: "The concession for season ticket holders to be able to use the two short stay designated car parks will help to ensure that businesses can continue to operate in the Southernhay and Howell Road areas. The chamber believes it is very important for the continued prosperity of the city centre to be able to accommodate retail, residential and business users."

Speaking at the executive meeting, Cllr Rachel Sutton, portfolio holder for sustainable development and transport, said there had been 225 e-mails, phone calls and letters of objection, many contacting the council more than once and added: "It did seem to us that the vast majority was relating to business users of these two car parks."

Cllr Yolonda Henson suggested that the season tickets should be extended to cover Saturdays.

She said: "Most of the correspondence was from estate agents and solicitors. The season tickets had been available for seven days and would have stopped – Monday to Friday is a compromise."

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