Proposed car park charges could help ensure future of much loved community asset

East Devon District Council is proposing to introduce public pay and display parking in the Manor Pavilion car park, next to the Manor Pavilion Theatre and Arts Centre in Sidmouth. This 21 space car park has historically been designated as a private car park for people visiting the theatre and arts centre. The council is inviting everyone to have their say on these proposals before 5pm on Friday 28 July 2017.

The council is proposing the changes for two main reasons:
1. East Devon District Council owns the Manor Pavilion Theatre and Arts Centre and its car park and pays the running costs. The money from the new car parking charges would go directly to the theatre to help pay for improvements such as new seating, customers being able to buy tickets online, new lighting, etc to help the theatre provide a high quality experience for its customers.
2. This 21 space car park has historically been designated as a private car park for people visiting the theatre and arts centre. However the Council state that over many years more and more residents and shoppers are using this very central site as a free car park with no restrictions or enforcement. Meaning there are less spaces available for people that visit the theatre and arts centre. The theatre manager has tried to control this by locking the gate from time to time but the problem is still growing.

The change being proposed is that the car park next to the Manor Pavilion Theatre would become a car park where you have to pay to park between 8am and 8pm, and you would only be allowed to stay for up to four hours. This will be at the same rate as the majority of East Devon District Council’s car parks, which charge £1 an hour.

To ease the impact of this proposal:
• You would be allowed to park for free for up to ten minutes. The ten minutes grace period would allow people to quickly drop off equipment from their cars for shows and arts centre displays, or to buy tickets from the box office.
• There would be a separate entrance and exit to a different area of the car park for people hiring or putting on shows in the theatre to use when unloading or loading their sets and equipment.
• The council would offer a special deal on parking costs in the larger Manor Road car park to local groups using the theatre or arts centre. 

You can find out more about the proposals online and have your say before 5pm on Friday 28 July 2017.

If you need a copy of the consultation on paper or in any other format please e-mail jbuckley@eastdevon.gov.uk or call 01395 517569.

If you can’t fill in the online consultation form, and you would like to send the council your views by email please send them to legal@eastdevon.gov.uk or by post please send them to:
Legal Services, East Devon District Council, Council Offices, Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 8HL, quoting ref: CAR.2-0060

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

We are responding to approaches from the Manor Pavilion management and these proposals may provide a solution to providing some car parking for theatre users, while gaining additional income for the running of the theatre and deterring others from taking advantage of the spaces. We need to do everything we can to ensure that this important and immensely popular community facility is kept running and that it does not become a burden on local council tax payers. It is normal to pay to park in theatre car parks across the country – these fees contribute vital funds towards the running costs of the theatres and help ensure their continued existence.

There are just 21 spaces in the car park and the theatre can seat 277 people so there are already alternatives that are used by audiences if people don’t want to or can’t park in the car park next to the theatre. 

In addition, a better way is needed to help us and the theatre properly manage this important asset and the way the car park is used and we feel this is the best solution.