Herald Express (Torbay, Brixham & South Hams Edition)

Council gives up car park as rent hike makes it too expensive to run


BIGBURY-ON-SEA car park has been turned over to a private operation after South Hams District Council said it was too costly to run the service.

Facing a rent increase, SHDC gave up responsibi­lity for both the car park and the toilets when both leases expired last month.

It said that to renew both leases would mean the council would be operating at a sizable loss which would not be in the best interests of public funds. The council did not disclose figures on how much the increase in rent would have been to make it unaffordab­le to operate the car park.

The car park, leased by the council since 1997, was taken over by operator, RCP Parking Ltd, last Monday.

The council said the owner of the site had entered into an agreement with RCP Parking to take over the management of both the car park and toilets.

South Hams District Council’s executive member for community services and leisure, Councillor Victor Abbott, said: “We have voluntaril­y surrendere­d the lease for these two assets which we have run for many years.

“We have to run our services sensibly, in a way which is cost effective. We have a duty to our residents to do that since we use public funds for these services and that is why we have reached this decision.

“Decisions aren’t always easy to come to, but when there is a rent increase which means we would be running at a significan­t loss, then it’s the right thing to do, to walk away and spend money where it’s more urgently needed.”

Parking charges at Bigbury currently range from £1.50 for one hour, £4.30 for up to three hours, £8 for up to six hours and £12 to park for the entire day. There is a an alternativ­e site on a field at the top of the hill above the village which is cheaper.

RCP Parking is a family-run business which has been operating car parks across the UK since 1994.

RCP did not respond to questions from the Herald Express about how it would manage the site and toilets and if it had any plans to increase parking charges.

 ?? Getty Images ?? ⟫The car park on the water at Bigbury-on-Sea had been operated by South Hams District Council since 1997
Getty Images ⟫The car park on the water at Bigbury-on-Sea had been operated by South Hams District Council since 1997

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