Published: November 10, 2011
Bah humbug! Council rejects call for free Christmas car parking

Sedgemoor 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. 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 help traders.

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 in income."

"It says the cost of waiving parking charges in Burnham and Highbridge in the week before Christmas would cost it £4,600 in lost income."

"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 parking offer.


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