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Following Exeter Chamber’s update and written response in May to Exeter City Council regarding the concerns raised over the impact of the rise in parking charges in our city, we want to provide you with a further update on conversations and lobbying support taking place on this matter. 

We recently met with Exeter City Council (ECC) key representatives including Cllr Phil Bialyk, Leader of the Council; Cllr Ruth Williams; Victoria Hatfield, Service Lead Net Zero & Business; and David Bartram, Director. The meeting was requested in response to our publication of the Chambers’ concerns and allowed us to develop our position on the matter.

During the meeting, we re-emphasised our concerns regarding the increase in parking charges and had a robust conversation with the ECC representatives.

We expressed our disappointment in the process and timings of the consultation, asserting that the concerns raised by members appeared to have been not fully considered. The ECC representatives informed us that they had followed statutory due process and, while there were differences of opinion, it was agreed that there will be continued engagement as the impact of the current changes are reviewed and that the Chamber will be kept informed of the results and ticket numbers issued to visitors. We will also be informed of any impact on St Sidwell’s Point (with the impact of the new evening charges), and we commit to reporting back on any data we can gather from our members.

As the Chamber, it is our responsibility to represent the business voice of Exeter and beyond. We conveyed this during the meeting and assured ECC that we have a duty to express the concerns of our members. However, we also emphasised Exeter Chamber’s willingness to work collaboratively with Exeter City Council on initiatives to find alternative ways of revenue raising.

One idea discussed was promoting electric vehicles (EVs) in the city and encouraging revenue generation through EV charging. In this regard, we have already introduced one of our members to ECC, who expressed interest in developing solar-powered charging points in car parks. The ECC representatives received this idea positively, and we are optimistic about the potential for further collaboration on this front.

Moving forward, we will continue to engage in constructive dialogues with Exeter City Council, advocating for our members’ interests while maintaining a supportive stance towards the City Council’s endeavours. We understand the challenges they face in balancing financial needs and community welfare.

As developments occur, we will keep you informed of any significant updates and outcomes from these discussions.

Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement with Exeter Chamber.

If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, please get in touch with us, we’d love to hear and share your views; [email protected]