Parking charges are a factor when deciding where to shop in Torbay
VISITORS do not consider the cost of parking when deciding on their holiday destination, says the report.
But parking prices are often reported to be a factor when local people consider where to shop.
The report compares summer beach car park charges in Torbay (where the charge is £1.50 for one hour 20 minutes, the equivalent of £1.12 for the first hour) with the more expensive hourly charges of Blackpool (£2.50), Brighton (£4), Eastbourne (£1.60), Newquay (£1.20) and the cheaper areas Poole (80p), Weston Super Mare (£1.10), Hastings (50p), Truro (£1.10) and Barnstaple (£1).
For the eight-hour charges of £8, Torbay is cheaper than areas like Blackpool (£9), Newquay (£10.30), Great Yarmouth (£15) and Brighton (£10), but more expensive than places like Poole (£6.40), Hastings (£2), Truro (£6.50) and Eastbourne (£4.80).
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The council also offers highly discounted parking permits for visitors during their stay. The report also compares Torbay to Teignbridge, South Hams and other Devon destinations. In Torbay the two-hour car park charge was the same as Exeter (£2.20), less than the South Hams (£2.60) and Plymouth (£2.40), but more than Teignbridge (£1.80) and East Devon, North Devon, West Devon, Torridge, and the cheapest Mid Devon (80p).
The report says the £2.50 for two hour charge to park on the street in Torbay is more expensive than everywhere else except Plymouth (£2.80) including Exeter (£2.30), Newton Abbot (£1.10), Teignmouth (£2) and Totnes (£1).
The report says some authorities have different charging policies across their car parks depending on location and time of year.
It states: "The comparisons with neighbouring authorities is a factor to consider as it is often reported in the media that locals may base their shopping habits, considering Torbay is likely to be in competition with Exeter and Plymouth, rather than for example Totnes which offers a more specialised shopping experience. However, during the winter without tourists, Torbay traders do struggle and parking charges is part of the offer to locals when considering shopping, therefore cheaper tariffs during the winter would seem fair."
Councillors will be told previous attempts at promotions offering cheap parking in an attempt to help the local economy and traders have resulted in some £203,000 in lost car parking revenue over the past four years.
The £1 all day parking on Saturdays during March and April 2012 saw a 7.5 per cent drop in ticket sales, say officers.
Charging times also vary in different areas with Torbay principally charging 8am to 6pm. Torbay charges £2 overnight, compared with areas like Exeter and Teignbridge which do not charge, and the South Hams which charges £2 and Plymouth £3.60.