Published: November 29, 2013
Parking charges will be increased in Burnham-On-Sea next year

Parking charges are set to rise in Burnham-On-Sea next year following a decision to hike up the rates by Sedgemoor District Council this week.

The council's Executive has approved income-generating plans to increase certain parking fees from April 2014 despite concerns raised by town councillors in Burnham.

There will be a big hike in the cost of season tickets and residents annual permits in Burnham and Highbridge.

Also, charges at car parks in Pier Street and Lynton Road will change, with the the all-day winter charge being removed and the higher summer charge being introduced all year round.

Parking charges on Berrow beach are also set to rise next April for the first time since 2009.

Sedgemoor has defended the rate hikes, saying: "The council raised car park prices last year by more than the level of inflation. Although car park income has increased since then the number of customers buying tickets has reduced."

And the council argues that residents permits still offer good value for money. "The budget officer has looked at season tickets in comparison to other neighbouring local authorities and recommended that the charge be increased from £560 to £650 per annum, which will still offer good value for money as the ticket is valid in all car parks. This charge is linked to the annual residents parking permit (50% of season ticket) so the residents season ticket would also increase from £280 to £325 per annum."

"All the other parking charges have been reviewed and apart from a small change in two car parks in Burnham, deleting the all-day winter charge and introducing the summer charge all year round, the rest of the charges remain the same."

Burnham councillors voiced their dismay at the inflation-busting increases during this month's Town Council meeting.

Cllr Helen Groves added: "Sedgemoor earns a tidy profit from car parks and this increase could just push people too far and dissuade them from coming to Burnham, thereby reducing Sedgemoor's revenue overall."

Cllr Louise Parkin added: "Given that the Pier Street car park in Burnham is Sedgemoor's most profitable car park in the whole district, a freeze in parking costs would be more appropriate to recognise the income that Burnham brings in. I see raising the fees will be detrimental to tourism."

Cllr Chris Williams added: "An increase of this size is completely unjustifiable. It's also not in line with the government's guidance to local authorities about not using car parks as 'cash cows'. A small increase in line with inflation would be more suitable."


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