'Best news of the year' in Tavistock as plans for on-street parking meters look set to be scrapped

ITV News' Richard Lawrence spent the day in Tavistock, hearing views from locals.

Plans to introduce on-street parking meters in a number of Devon towns look likely to be scrapped after opposition from residents and businesses.

Devon County Council proposed introducing pay-and-display meters to eight towns, saying it would boost the local economy and reduce congestion.

Traders argued it would cause misery and only drive customers away and now the council cabinet looks set to drop the idea.

More than half of the 5,323 representations during the public consultation came from Tavistock which ran a Stop the Meters campaign led by its Business Improvement District.

It was backed by Tavistock Town Council, West Devon Borough Council, Tavistock Chamber of Commerce and the area’s two county councillors, who spoke out against the plans at a public meeting.

West Devon’s other main town of Okehampton was the third most vocal location against the meters, with 691 people opposing it in the consultation and only six supporting it.

The main concern was that the meters would have a negative effect on the high streets which are already struggling.

Although the first hour’s parking would be free, drivers would still have to display tickets.

A survey conducted by Tavistock BID revealed that 72% of people would visit the town less if meters were installed.

Meters were also proposed for Braunton, Crediton, Dartmouth, Honiton and Salcombe and Sidmouth, with opposition outweighing support in all the towns.

At the cabinet meeting, members will be asked not to proceed with the plan and invite proposals from the communities on how they would address their parking issues.

Tavistock BID manager Janna Sanders said: “Our voice has been heard and we thank Devon County Council for doing the right thing.

“Businesses have been reporting one of the worst trading periods on the high street for many years and are currently trying their hardest to maximise the opportunities to make some amends for a financially difficult year and deliver great service to customers.

“This is the best news we could ask for to support the high street and protect and promote our unique and special town centre.”