Extra parking will be created in Exmouth by reducing spaces near the estuary allocated for lorries and coaches.
Part of Exmouth’s estuary coach and lorry park near the railway station is to be converted into new car parking spaces, writes local democracy reporter Will Goddard.
The adjacent estuary long-stay car park will get 86 new spaces, reducing places for lorries, buses and coaches from 16 to 12.
It comes as many people report difficulties finding anywhere to leave their vehicles in the town because of the clashing parking schemes of two different councils.
They are Devon County Council’s new residents’ parking zones in parts of Exmouth, including The Colony area, and East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) all-day £2 winter car park offer, which runs until the end of March.
On average fewer than two people paid for parking each day at the estuary coach and lorry park between April and December last year.
Cllr Olly Davey (Green, Exmouth Town) told a meeting he thought 12 spaces for coaches and lorries would be “sufficient” and 86 new car parking spaces “would make a difference”.
He said: “I walk past [the coach and lorry park]on a regular basis. I’ve never seen more than six or seven vehicles in there, and that’s a busy day.
“I did take a photograph recently, there wasn’t a single vehicle in that lorry car park.”
But Cllr Brian Bailey (Conservative, Exmouth Littleham) disagreed, saying there would not be enough spaces for coaches.
He said: “In the summer, there are as many as 14, 16 coaches a night, and they stay for a period of usually two weeks with foreign students.
“This is a good income for Exmouth, and it’s been established with the English language school for many, many years, and these proposals would disrupt that entirely as far as I can see.”
Cllr Geoff Jung (Lib Dem, Woodbury and Lympstone) thought the council should be “working really quickly” to provide more car parking spaces in the centre of Exmouth.
He said: “There is a big issue with car parking spaces at Exmouth now and there are people saying that something needs to be sorted out immediately.
“People were moaning on Facebook today that they can’t get into Exmouth to do their shopping.
“We’ve got a coach park that is hardly used, a lorry park that is hardly used, and we’ve got people very concerned that they can’t find a parking space in Exmouth.
“And I would have thought that we need to get something sorted very quickly for the residents and the traders of Exmouth before it’s too late.”
The new spaces in the estuary long-stay car park are expected to cost EDDC around £55,000 to £65,000 to create. but are expected to bring in additional income.
Devon County Council said last month that it introduced its Exmouth residents’ parking scheme “following a consultation and concerns raised by local residents” and that it “aims to remove all-day commuter parking in residential areas and ensures that residents have priority to park within their own area”.