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Crediton joins towns opposing parking meters

Crediton High Street. Image courtesy: Google Street View

Tavistock, Okehampton and Dartmouth are against the plans by Devon County Council too

Controversial plans to introduce on-street parking meters in eight Devon towns have not found favour in Crediton where 300 opponents have signed a petition.

Devon County Council’s cabinet will meet next month to discuss the proposal which has angered business leaders and borough and town councillors who say the meters will be detrimental to high streets already under pressure from online sales.

In addition to Crediton, meters are proposed for Tavistock, Okehampton, Dartmouth, Honiton, Salcombe, Sidmouth and Braunton.

Devon county councillor for Crediton Frank Letch (Lib Dem) presented the petition to the full council at their budget meeting.

The petition to the county councillors are calling for the withdrawal of the proposed pay and display zones because they say they will raise very little money for the county council, inconvenience local residents and harm businesses.

Cllr Letch asked the authority not to disregard petitioners with EX postcodes from outside Crediton as “they have the good sense to visit Crediton which has some very good independent shops.

“The sincere hope of all the people who took part in the recent public consultation is that it is taken notice of and not just a tick box exercise because these people say they don’t want it.”

In Tavistock and Okehampton around 6,000 people have signed a petition against the meters and both town councils and West Devon Borough Council is backing the communities in their concerns.

Both towns have free parking in the town centre for a limited time and say it has always worked well with a large turnover of cars and shoppers.

Under Devon County Council's proposal, one hour's free parking will be retained in the town centres, with an option to pay for a second hour. All motorists will have to display a ticket though.

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

A 'stop the meters' action meeting will be held at the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock on Wednesday 28 February at 6pm for people to find out how they can get involved in the campaign.

Dartmouth has also voiced opposition to the scheme.

The county council says the move will increase turnover of shoppers and ease congestion in town centres. Money from the meters is also put into public transport schemes.

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