Parking consultation row as Devon council buys meters

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Parking meter
Image caption,
Thousands of people have objected to the parking meters plan

A public consultation about paid parking in Devon has been branded a "sham".

Devon County Council wants to introduce parking restrictions in Okehampton, Honiton, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Kingsbridge, Braunton and Tavistock.

Despite still being in the process of a public consultation, the council has bought 100 pay-and-display machines at a cost of £290,000.

The council said "a lot" of the meters were to replace old ones.

Nigel Eadie, the chairman of Tavistock and District Chamber of Commerce described the consultation as "just a sham".

If the plan is approved, drivers would be allowed 30 minutes free parking before charges applied.

Mr Eadie said: "We are absolutely outraged by the notion of parking meters being installed on the streets of Tavistock.

"I think we are equally outraged by the way this is being proposed by Devon County Council.

"There's been no consultation whatsoever. It's a foregone conclusion, farcical."

The council has received about 4,400 objections to the proposals, which include signatures on two petitions.

Stuart Hughes, the cabinet member responsible, confirmed the meters had been ordered after the cabinet invited objections to the scheme in September.

He said: "A lot of those are to replace old machines.

"I am listening to people. We shall look at all the objections and come to a decision."

A decision would be made at the council's cabinet meeting on 12 January.

He added: "This scheme was not to harm town centres, it's for traffic management.

"It works well in Dawlish, Teignmouth and Barnstaple."

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