PLANS to create an East Devon parking strategy could be set for a bumpy ride.

Report by Local Democracy Reporting service.

The initial outline of a district-wide parking strategy for 2024-2031 was put to East Devon District Council’s overview committee this week, but a host of concerns was raised.

The strategy aims to streamline decision-making about parking, but councillors highlighted various issues, including the potential use of automatic number plate recognition cameras in car parks, the possible impact of any changes to the time that parking charges end, and whether local residents could receive subsidies for parking.

Cllr Brian Bailey said: “Parking does not have a one-size fits all solution.”

He outlined how a permit system in his area didn’t have enough spaces compared to the number of permits issued, forcing some residents to park in a car park at Imperial Road.

“If, as someone suggested, parking charges were enacted 24/7, that would be a horrendous expense for people in that area,” he said.

Committee chairman Cllr Anne Hall agreed overnight charging would have to be considered carefully in specific areas.

Cllr Yehudi Levine suggested residents in rural areas who drive to town centres because of a lack of public transport, could receive exemptions or allowances if car parking charges become more punative.

“If we make life difficult for the rural population, it will discourage them from coming into town centres,” he said.

“It could kill the town centre in somewhere like Honiton, as people would go to Tesco or Aldi, where there is free parking, but then not go to the town centre as there is no way to get to there by foot in Honiton’s case.”

Cllr Susan Westerman welcomed the strategy but urged the council to be “perceived to be offering value for money”.

“I would like to see different charges or subsidies for locals compared to tourists, especially because if charges are too high, it drives people onto residential streets,” she said.

Cllr Hall said different parking permits that provide discounts are available for car park users.

However, she noted a need to improved advertising about these permits.

Other factors raised included the potential charging of vans and motorhomes for overnight parking, possibly using coach parking spaces for cars outside the tourist season, and debating whether parking charges should end later than currently.

Cllr Henry Riddell raised fears that businesses could be impacted if car park charges go later into the night.

“I will go to Exmouth for a meal out in the evening as I know I don’t have to pay for parking after 6pm,” he said.

“Lots of businesses would be damaged if you took free parking away after 6pm.

“Exeter is charging until 10pm now, but it just pushes parking into residential streets.”