“COMMON sense has prevailed” - Devon County Council Cabinet has “recommended not to proceed” with controversial plans for Pay and Display Parking Meters in eight Devon market towns.

There was a great deal of concern raised from each of the towns, namely Crediton, Okehampton, Tavistock, Dartmouth, Sidmouth, Braunton, Salcombe and Honiton, about the proposal.

Devon County Council’s cabinet was to discuss the proposal at its meeting at County Hall in Exeter on Thursday, March 13, but will not now happen.

Crediton High Street.  AQ 2179
Crediton High Street. AQ 2179 (Alan Quick, Crediton Courier)

The controversial plans did not find favour in Crediton where Crediton Rural County Councillor Frank Letch (Lib Dem) organised a petition which attracted 300 names.

He presented the petition to the full council at its budget meeting.

It called for the withdrawal of the proposed Pay and Display Zones because, it said, it would raise very little money for the County Council, inconvenience local residents and harm businesses.

One of the DCC waiting restrictions amendment notices in Crediton High Street.  AQ 7179
One of the DCC waiting restrictions amendment notices in Crediton High Street. AQ 7179 (Alan Quick, Crediton Courier)

In Crediton shoppers can park for 45 minutes in the High Street and around the Town Square and on other side roads.

The Devon County Council proposal, which will not now proceed, was for one hour’s free parking in the town centres, with an option to pay for a second hour.

All motorists would have been required to display a ticket.

In Tavistock and Okehampton more than 6,000 people signed a petition against the meters and both town councils and West Devon Borough Council backed the communities in their concerns.

Both towns have free parking in the town centre for a limited time and said it works well with a large turnover of cars and shoppers.

Tavistock Business Improvement District (BID) manager Janna Sanders recently said that having to go to a machine and get a ticket would put people off making the short “pop and shop” visits to the town, especially those with disabilities and the elderly and that the meters would “disenfranchise the community”.

A “stop the meters” action meeting was held in Tavistock on February 28 and many people attended.

Two Tavistock Conservative County Councillors said that they did not agree with Devon County Council’s plans at that meeting.

A protest by opponents of the plan was due to take place at County Hall on March 13.

The county council previously said that the introduction of the meters would increase turnover of shoppers and ease congestion in the town centres.

Money from the meters is also put into public transport schemes, it emphasised.


County Councillor Letch said today, Tuesday, March 5, that he had last night (Monday) had a telephone call from Stuart Hughes, the Cabinet member for Highways at Devon County Council, to say that the proposal for Pay and Display in eight Devon towns had been dropped and so would not be on the cabinet agenda for March 13.

Cllr Letch said that the decision was “the right one” but also recognised that the plan “did have some merit”.

He explained: “The proposal would have given shoppers and residents 15 minutes extra free parking but I am happy that common sense has prevailed.

“I would like to thank my wife Natalia and friend Tamara, who, on the first Saturday in February walked up and down the High Street and around the side streets (the ones where meters were proposed) and they collected all the signatures on my behalf and that of the Liberal Democrats which organised it.

“I presented that to the council meeting and thank every one of those who signed it.

“I think this decision recognises the outward physical signs of inward frustrations by shoppers and residents as well as those from outside the area.”

Cllr Liz Brookes-Hocking, the Mayor of Crediton, said the decision ‘was the sensible thing to do’.  AQ 0723
Cllr Liz Brookes-Hocking, the Mayor of Crediton, said the decision ‘was the sensible thing to do’. AQ 0723 (Alan Quick, Crediton Courier)

The Mayor of Crediton, Cllr Liz Brookes-Hocking, commented: “I am pleased that the Cabinet has reached such a decision.

“The meters would have had a significant impact on the businesses in the town and I was also very concerned about the environment of the High Street and street clutter.

“The decision was the sensible thing to do, well done to them.

“I know the Town Council would like to have further discussions with Devon County Council about parking issues in the near future.”