Parking in Sidmouth - click links for maps - but first, a few words for visitors.
Like many seaside resort towns, Sidmouth was never designed for the motor car. It grew up in the age of the horse and cart. The central shopping and tourist area would be much safer and far more pleasant for visitors and residents if it were to be largely pedestrianised, at least during the summer months. It is absurd for Sidmouth Town Council to claim in its holiday guide that Sidmouth is "a town caught in a timeless charm... a seafront deckchair for a quiet read....." The reality is that the town centre is choked with cars and the roar of traffic and noisy car stereos along the Esplanade would put paid to any notion of a 'quiet read' during warm summer days.
As the late Councillor Ted Pinney OBE said towards the end of his life - Sidmouth can have a future of filth or a future of fresh air. Most councillors seem still to want the filth, noise, danger and perceived profits of yet more traffic along narrow streets in the town centre. Read about local government here.
Shopkeepers and their friends wield much influence within and on the Town Council and many are wedded to the simplistic notion of "more cars equals more people equals more profit". In essence they cannot see beyond the end of their till rolls and the rest of us have to suffer. On several occasions they have come close to having a multi-storey car park built in the town centre - which would simply attract yet more traffic along narrow streets. The author of this website ran a high-profile campaign against the multi-storey car park during 1998 - and won a seat on the town council as a result. Read all about how this website came to be.
The largest car park in Sidmouth is in Manor Road, on the west side of town. Long stay visitors are urged to use this unless they have alternative private arrangements with friends or their hotel. There are parking meters up Peak Hill (this is the road that runs along the coast to the west of the Esplande) but as yet these are the only ones in the town. The car park on the east side of town (at the swimming pool and near the Ham) gets busy at peak times but is free in evenings. A lot of streets have free parking after 6pm (single yellow lines). The major problem however is not finding a car parking space but suffering the congestion of far too many cars in a small town - and too many of them circling around for the fun of it playing loud music. Please keep your car out of central Sidmouth!
Period parking permits for major car parks are available from the Sidmouth Tourist Information Office - (01395) 516441
At weekends and in the evenings the EDDC car park (at the Knowle, the council offices at the top of Station Road) is free to use and only a short walk into town. Please use this if you can.
A shuttle bus service operates between the Manor Road car park and the town centre during the peak holiday season. Please support it (I put forward the idea several years ago although the town council now claims it was their own idea!). Its functionality may be impeded by the latest of a series of 'lunatic' traffic alterations made by Devon County Council under the influence of Sidmouth's arguably inept Conservative County Councillor Stuart 'lunatic' Hughes who features in several places on this website.
The new pedestrian crossing on the Esplanade continues to cause major hold-ups for the reasons outlined in letters to the Sidmouth Herald. Not a squeak has been heard from Councillor Channon for a long time - she is too busy acting out her role at the South West Regional Assembly. She came third in the interviews for the post but Patricia Hewitt (a Blair Babe and a then government minister) ordered she be appointed over the heads of more capable male candidates. This caused a huge uproar locally and in the national press. Channon refused to resign, perhaps because this particular quango job was so well paid? The mess she created on Sidmouth's Esplanade will no doubt remain until everyone has forgotten who was primarily responsible.
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