In July 2017 we proposed 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 had historically been designated as a private car park for people visiting the theatre and arts centre.
We carried out a consultation to gather in people's views on this proposed change.
We gave people the information below and asked them to complete a questionnaire to give us their views either online or on paper. Alternatively they could email or send their comments in to our Legal Team. They had 21 days to do this.
We analysed and considered all the consultation responses.
The Legal Team and Car Parks Team produced a report on the outcomes of the consultation that was considered by Councillors at Cabinet at their meeting on 6 September 2017. At that meeting Councillors decided to introduce pay and display car parking at the Manor Pavilion car park, you can see this in the Minutes and audio recording of that meeting. The charges have now been introduced and Manor Pavilion car park is now a pay and display car park.
The change that has happened is:
The car park next to the Manor Pavilion Theatre has become a car park where you have to pay to park between 8am and 8pm, and you are allowed to stay for up to four hours. This is at the same rate as the majority of our car parks, £1 an hour.
The vast majority of evening shows at the Manor Pavilion Theatre start between 7.30pm and 8pm which means that any theatre customer parking at the car park to see an evening show only has to pay a maximum charge of £1.
Why did we propose this change?
There were two main reasons:
- East Devon District Council owns the Manor Pavilion Theatre and Arts Centre and its car park and pay the running costs. Like all other local authorities, we are under significant and increasing budgetary pressures so need to find other ways of helping fund the ongoing costs and improvements needed at the Manor Pavilion Theatre and Arts Centre to keep it going.
The money from the car parking charges will go directly to the theatre to help pay for improvements such as new seating, customers being able to buy tickets online, new lighting etc which it needs to provide a high quality experience for its customers. Paying to park in theatre car parks across the country is normal, to help with the running costs of the theatre.
- This 21 space car park has historically been designated as a private car park for people visiting the theatre and arts centre. However 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. This means 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. Going forward we need to find a better way to properly manage this important asset and the way the car park is used.
To ease the impact of this change:
The maximum stay has been extended from three to four hours.
We undertake not to serve a penalty charge notice on a vehicle left by anyone who is genuinely engaged in buying (or waiting in a queue to buy) tickets from the theatre box office.
We offer a further concession to allow vehicles to enter the car park free of charge to drop off and pick up equipment.
We offer parking concessions direct from EDDC’s Parking Services
team for theatre groups to use Manor Road long stay car park during rehearsals and performances. They will need to contact us to discuss
Currently the running costs and maintenance bills for the arts centre are considerably more than the amount of income in generates. So the additional income raised by the pay and display car park will help keep it open and help make sure we can keep the hiring costs at an affordable level.
Other options we looked at but discounted and reasons why:
- We thought about not introducing car parking charges. However, the budget we have available to help us run the theatre and arts centre is reducing, and so charging for this car park provided an opportunity to upkeep and improve this greatly valued theatre and arts centre and car park. In addition the car park has become increasingly difficult to manage over the last five years as more and more residents and shoppers use it as a free place to park, so there are less spaces available for people that visit the theatre and arts centre.
- We thought about allowing customers to hand in a part of their car parking ticket at the theatre box office for a refund. However, we feel that as there are only 21 spaces, and all the other theatre goers that park in other nearby car parks don’t get this benefit, it wouldn’t be fair.
- We thought about only charging for parking until 6pm. However, most of the theatres shows start between 7.30pm and 8pm. If the car park is free at 6pm it will be used by some residents for free overnight parking, leaving less spaces available for theatre goers.
- We thought about only allowing people to stay in the car park for a maximum of three hours, which is normal in our short stay car parks. However, people going to an afternoon theatre performance may need more than three hours to go in, see the show and get back out again so we are proposing to make it four hours.