Plans to increase car parking charges in North Devon put on hold

People in the sea at Croyde Beach in North Devon. Credit: PA

Plans to increase car parking charges in parts of North Devon have been put on hold.

North Devon Council’s strategy and resources committee had initially been recommended to charge an extra 40p per hour on some of their coastal car parks between April and October.

The reasoning behind the proposed rise was the expectation for high visitor numbers to North Devon when coronavirus restrictions lift, particularly considering foreign travel may be limited.

But council chief executive Ken Miles amended the recommendation ahead of a meeting on Monday 1 March to allow further discussion around how parking charges will be managed.

Mr Miles said: "Parking charges are used to manage demand and behaviours with car parking, and it is common that if trying to discourage parking in a certain area then the parking charges are higher."

He said car parking income for this financial year was down £1.8m against the target budget but that the proposed charges would result in additional income of £118,833.72 for the council in 2021/22.

But following the release of the roadmap out of lockdown, holidays in self-contained accommodation by members of the same household won’t resume until at least April 12, and hotels, hostels and B&Bs are not set to reopen until May 17.

Mr Miles added: “The roadmap had made it clear when we can expect the car parks to be busier, so we do have a bit more time to consider the concerns raised and the potential impact of increasing charges.”

Cllr David Worden, leader of the council, said: “The loss of income is something we are concerned about and we are likely to get a lot more tourists to North Devon because of the pandemic.”

During the summer of 2020, North Devon experienced very high numbers of visitors after the first lockdown was lifted, but also resulted in issues in some local roads being blocked by parked vehicles.

Credit: Daniel Clark for LDRS

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