humbug! Council rejects call
for free Christmas car parking
District Council has this week turned down a request from Burnham
and Highbridge Town Council to scrap parking charges in the two
towns during the run-up to Christmas.
Burnham-On-Sea.com first reported here
that town councillor Chris Williams, pictured, had asked Sedgemoor
District Council to waive parking charges between December 17th
and Christmas Eve to encourage more shoppers to shop locally and
But Teresa Harvey, Group Manager for Community Development, has
written to the Town Council this week and turned down the request.
Town Clerk Eileen Shaw explained: "Sedgemoor says it has
set its budget for the year ahead and cannot approve a reduction
says the cost of waiving parking charges in Burnham and Highbridge
in the week before Christmas would cost it £4,600 in lost
"It has invited the Town Council to foot the bill if we
want to go ahead with free parking."
Town councillors turned down the 'offer' during their meeting
on Wednesday evening.
Cllr Williams said he is "disappointed" by the response
and has taken up the matter with Sedgemoor's portfolio holder.
"I have been told that offering free parking at Christmas
is apparently not as easy as it sounds since some residents have
bought annual permits."
"Also, I have been assured by Sedgemoor that parking is
not as lucrative for the council as it once was. In fact, it is
currently operating at a deficit. I have asked that free parking
is factored into Sedgemoor's budgets for Christmas 2012."
He added: "Free parking would have provided a small incentive
to shoppers to buy in Burnham and Highbridge and also help them
reduce their petrol bills by avoiding the need to drive out of
the area to do shopping."
Sedgemoor used to provide free parking in the run-up to Christmas
in the two towns, but this stopped after the 2007