Death knell for free Ottery parking?

OTTERY shoppers could have to fork out for on-street parking after highways bosses decided to introduce pay and display machines in the region s market and coastal towns.

OTTERY shoppers could have to fork out for on-street parking after highways bosses decided to introduce pay and display machines in the region's market and coastal towns.

Devon County Council's (DCC) cabinet has agreed the measure, to be rolled out over the next four years, in a move which could see Ottery's town centre 'limited waiting bays' become a thing of the past.

Limited waiting bays in Mill Street and throughout Ottery allow residents and visitors to park for free for a certain amount of time. The town currently has no on-street pay and display machines.

In a report from the DCC's executive director of environment, economy and culture, it is said limited waiting bays are a "time consuming and extremely inefficient use of civil enforcement officer's (CEO) time", and are "the most difficult restriction to effectively enforce."

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The report states: "In order to enforce this a CEO must visit the parking bay twice, the first time to record details of each vehicle in the bay, including the position of tyre valves, the second time after the permitted period to establish that the vehicle has stayed too long and check the tyre valves again, to prove that the vehicle has not moved and come back to the same bay.

"Because of the difficulty to enforce, limited waiting time is generally the most abused parking restriction, often within key locations in the town, which equates to poor turnover of available space and therefore poor accessibility to facilities within the town."

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It is claimed the introduction of pay and display machines will allow for "one stop enforcement" and additional funds attained "could be directed to local transport improvements".

Ottery county councillor Roger Giles feels possible on-street pay and display machines in the town won't become a reality for several years.

He said: "Each town will be dealt with on an individual basis and there will need to be a public consultation. They will look at the big places like Sidmouth and Honiton first.

"I suspect it will be a particularly unpopular idea, We want to encourage people to come here and spend money."

Town councillor William Laitinen last week described the move as a "stealth tax" and "the most ludicrous decision that could be taken for Ottery".

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