Pay-and-display parking plan for two East Devon towns is set to be scrapped amid a county-wide public outcry

Pay-and-display parking planned for the East Devon towns of Honiton and Sidmouth is set to be scrapped after a public outcry.

Controversial plans for pay and display parking in eight Devon towns are set to be dropped after a raft of public opposition, writes local democracy reporter Bradley Gerrard.

The proposals would have seen charges imposed after an initial free hour’s parking in Braunton, Crediton, Dartmouth, Okehampton, Salcombe, Tavistock, plus Sidmouth and Honiton, both in East Devon.

But with more than 5,300 people commenting, mostly against the idea, Devon County Council’s is recommending that Councillors at the next cabinet meeting don’t proceed.

Concerns raised by the public are the potential impact on high streets and local businesses, as well as a view that existing restrictions are effective.

Others feared it would be seen by the council as an income stream – although the authority claims it isn’t a profit-making scheme – while others worried it could impact the ability of workers to find and afford parking.

East Devon

A public meeting was held at the Bedford Hotel, in Tavistock, focusing on the proposed parking meters.
Photo: Radio Exe.

Instead, it is being suggested that Councillors invite proposals from the communities on how they would address their parking issues so that joint solutions can be developed.

Council leader John Hart, who will chair the cabinet meeting, said: “We are listening to the county Councillors who have represented their towns very forcefully.

“We are listening to the residents and businesses in these towns and to their local councils.

“Many of our towns have parking and congestion issues which need to be tackled, but it’s important that any solution has the support of the local community. We are listening to them.”

In a new report, Devon’s director of climate change, environment and transport, Meg Booth, said: “There has been significant objection to the principle of new pay and display across all communities and to implement the schemes as advertised would not be listening to the concerns of the communities.

“However, within the comments received, there is evidence of parking problems within the communities and if and when communities identify potential solutions, these could be considered at a future date.”

Of the 5,323 representations about the plans, more than half came from Tavistock alone, and in each town’s case, the council acknowledged the majority of responses were against the pay and display scheme.

Furthermore, petitions were sent from action groups in Dartmouth, which gained 3,000 signatures, and Crediton, opposing the proposed pay and display parking.

Dartmouth registered the most support of any of the eight towns, although this only amounted to 39 in favour out of the 831 representations.

Residents to pay East Devon District Council an extra £5 after tax rise agreed