Thursday, 20 November 2014

Museum’s Corporate Friends hopeful on car park issue

Car parking will be free for the time being at Budleigh Salterton's Upper Station Road car park
Although I write mostly about Fairlynch Museum matters I was happy to oblige when asked to mention Budleigh Salterton Music Festival events.

As I’ve written elsewhere, more festivals means more visitors to the town, which means more visitors to its museum...

But of course more visitors are good for Budleigh businesses generally.   

So it’s excellent news, as reported in a recent edition of the Budleigh Journal, that East Devon District Council and Clinton Devon Estates have met to discuss the issue of the free car park at Upper Station Road Car Park.

Fully used: Budleigh's Upper Station Road Car Park 
Both parties, according to a joint statement made by EDDC and CDE, “understand the importance of the car park to the town and want to ensure that the facility serves the town for many years to come.”

“Consequently, the first requirement is to ensure that we fully understand the patterns of usage of the car park,” the statement goes on to say.

“Therefore the Council will monitor this over the next few months. A further meeting will be held in due course but in the meantime the car park will remain as a free car park.”
Owners of two local businesses which happen to be Corporate Friends of Fairlynch Museum have expressed satisfaction at this latest development. The Brook Gallery’s Angela Yarwood and Plume’s Mike Clarke feel that it is a very positive outcome and hope to be closely and openly involved in the monitoring process.

In fact Angela, pictured above, was so closely involved in the car park issue that she was reported in the Budleigh Journal as having resigned from her position as chairman of traders’ group Budleigh in Business. 

It was, she said, “heartbreaking” to find that the amount of voluntary time that she and others had spent on trying to establish “fair and equitable parking regimes” had been, as she put it, “negated.”  

Car users have to pay at the Lower Station Road car park. Controversial plans to install pay and display machines at the town’s free car park have been put on hold

Both Angela and Mike believe in the ultimate aim of permanently retaining the free status of what they believe is a the “valuable facility” of the Upper Station Road Car Park. The latest development in the parking issue comes following the sending of a letter by 48 local traders to Lord Clinton, whose family bequeathed the car park to Budleigh Salterton’s old urban district council.

I once confided to one of my blog readers, an elderly Budleigh resident, my hope that promoting the town might bring more visitors. He pointed out that he and his wife had moved here precisely because Budleigh “was not a tourist town, and catered rather for the residents.”  They had not been disappointed, he wrote, and “have much enjoyed its quiet atmosphere.”

Budleigh is a delightful place, notable for surviving in these tough economic times with its quiet charm. But there has to be a balance.  Few  people would relish the thought of living in a community so moribund that even the charity shops have closed down. 

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