Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Campaigners battle notorious Instow Sandhills car park

PUBLISHED: 07:20 01 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 02 January 2018

Sandhills car park at Instow. Picture: Rachael Hunter

Sandhills car park at Instow. Picture: Rachael Hunter


Claims of ‘predatory tactics’ to fleece motorists – but the operator says 10 minutes should be enough time to drive 200 yards down an access road and buy a ticket

Sandhills car park at Instow. Picture: Rachael Hunter Sandhills car park at Instow. Picture: Rachael Hunter

Irate motorist are calling for changes to what has become Instow’s most notorious car park.

Dozens of drivers have ended up with fines after falling afoul of the CCTV-operated Sandhills car park in the village.

The Sandhills Action Group on Facebook has more than 70 members, all of whom have received penalty charge notices (PCNs) via the automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) camera system.

The car park is owned by Christie Estates but operated by Direct Solutions for Parking Limited.

Drivers should get a 10 minute grace period before being charged for their stay, but campaigners say poor signage, lighting and a slow, pot-holed access road often make it difficult to buy a ticket in time.

Rachael Hunter from Bideford has received four PCNs – the first time she found she was unable to pay by phone or online and the second time the machine would not accept her change. Both occasions took her over the grace period.

She has also received two more, which she says she paid for but believes the ANPR camera and ticket machine times are out of sync.

Rachael says there is no planning permission for either the cameras or the signage.

The Gazette put this to North Devon Council, which said that was true but that it would ‘not be in the public interest’ to pursue enforcement.

Holidaymaker Alexandra Cooper also received a PCN for stopping on the access road – despite paying for parking - and said she believed the car park company was using ‘predatory tactics’ since the signs were on the access road, but you could not stop to read them.

The Gazette put some of these complaints to Lukasz Palecki, managing director of DSFP.

He said the signage on the site complied with regulations and was sufficient, while there was lighting in the key areas needed.

He said the access road was only 200 yards, yet it seemed 10 minutes was not enough for some to drive down and purchase a ticket.

Mr Palecki disputed the cameras and machine were out of sync and said they both ran off the same server.

A Christie Estate spokesman said: “Sandhills car park is operated and managed by DSFP who have leased the site from Christie Devon Estates since 2016. An ANPR system has been in place since the beginning of the 2017 season and signage around the car park clearly states conditions of parking.

“In response to correspondence from the public, additional signage has now been put in place to provide extra clarification.

“There is an appeal procedure at DSFP and we have been made aware of the fact that, in cases where there are genuine mitigating circumstances, fines have been waived.

“However, while we sympathise with those who feel they have been wrongly fined, the estate is not in a position to overrule the enforcement of parking charges.”

Other News Stories


Police called to ‘serious assault’ in Forches on Tuesday evening

Read more

There has been a rise of 38 per cent in reports of domestic abuse in North Devon over the last 12 months

Read more

The A399 at Watermouth will be closed for a maximum of five days while resurfacing is carried out

Read more

A Bratton Fleming man has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after dumping builder’s waste off the A399.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:09

Barnstaple rush hour traffic could be slow after an accident was reported

Read more
Yesterday, 14:35

The Met Office has put out a weather warning for wind as strong gusts are expected to hit North Devon on Wednesday night.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

Hospital clinicians held an extraordinary meeting to support a motion of no confidence in Northern Devon Healthcare Trust’s medical director George Thomson.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:22

Last week the Gazette revealed plans to demolish Littlejohns Coalyard to build new houses - and it seems readers are not happy about it.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

North Devon branch of well-known cancer charity is seeking a volunteer willing to lead the local group

Read more
Yesterday, 06:48

Barnstaple TSB is highlighting the Take Five Fraud Awareness Week and trying to stop the scamsters in North Devon

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications