Revised Improvement Works - Haddon Hill Car Park - August 2023

Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact us about our proposals for Haddon Hill car park. It’s clear the site is highly valued by local people and visitors from further afield.

We must emphasise this was not an easy decision to propose parking charges. However, with our financial pressures and the government funding situation as it is, we must act to continue providing the range of services we offer. This includes maintenance of footpaths and bridleways, providing facilities such as car parks and toilets, and carrying out conservation and education work across the National Park. The alternative is to begin closing facilities and cutting back further on services which we know are valued by local people, visitors and businesses. This would impact on people’s ability to enjoy the National Park, including those on low incomes.  We are looking at many cost-saving measures and new income opportunities across all our activities but if we are to continue our work to care for Exmoor and help people enjoy it responsibly, we must rely less on core government funding.

We will continue to introduce a car park charging scheme for Haddon Hill, but we have listened to your comments over a considerable consultation period and will be delivering some changes to our original proposals.

Changes to Haddon Car Park

  • We will add an hour-only stay option at a rate of £1.50.
  • We will only charge from the hours of 10am until 6pm to allow greater opportunities for local people and others to enjoy charge-free parking.
  • To assist those with financial difficulties we will offer our annual parking pass at a 50% discounted rate to those who qualify for certain means tested government financial support (so available at a cost of £30 per year).
  • The central area will be kept as short grass to allow exercise and picnicking with trees and long grass added around the site in suitable places.
  • We will only add two simple picnic benches in the central area and refurbish the existing benches on site. If this results in antisocial behaviour, we can remove them.
  • Any volunteers parking at the site for formally agreed wildlife monitoring or voluntary practical work on Haddon Hill will not be expected to pay for parking and will be issued a pass for pre-agreed visit dates.

We are not proposing to add any additional tarmac and we are reducing the amount of signage on-site overall. The proposals are limited to the car park area and do not affect the wider environment of Haddon Hill.

Clarification on Frequently Asked Questions that came up in the consultation:

  • Payment machines will accept cash and contactless card payments. We do not intend to use a smartphone app system such as Ringo.
  • It is very difficult to charge for the use of toilets without expensive infrastructure and these schemes, when tried, often fail and are reversed.
  • Everyone using the site will be expected to pay to park, but rates will be the same regardless of size of vehicle or whether a horse box is on tow.
  • We have advertised the opportunity for a catering concession in the past and we are happy to try this again and would welcome a simple refreshment service there.

We monitor compliance with car park payments through regular visits from our staff who are often on site for other reasons, so this will not create significant additional cost for us. We find that most people are happy to contribute to a service they enjoy. We expect to raise a worthwhile sum from the charging system and any initial outlay for the parking machine and signage should be covered within a year.

The other proposed changes are in keeping with the existing character of the car park and are not high cost. These repairs and improvements are things the Authority wants to carry out to ensure the car park provides a high-quality experience and are not directly related to the charging proposal.

We recognise concerns that the new scheme may encourage some people to park in less suitable locations but by providing a range of affordable options to pay, along with convenient free periods we hope this will be minimal.

The works and changes will be implemented over the coming months, as capacity allows.

You can view our original proposals for Haddon Hill car park here.