Parking debate continues as council agree funding for pay and display machines to be reinstalled at Bear Street and Hardaway Head

The decision to reinstate pay and display machines in two Barnstaple car parks has 'destroyed' the public's confidence in North Devon Council, according to one of its members.

The council approved funding to facilitate the change of machines at its meeting on Wednesday evening.

But Barnstaple ward member, Councillor Faye Webber was said the decision to scrap a 'system the public likes' would destroy their faith in the council.

"It does nothing but destroy the confidence the public has with this council and I am sorry about that," she said.

The Queen Street car park in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleThe Queen Street car park in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

"The equipment going wrong is no reason for doing away with a system the public likes.

"This is about the survival of this town and that's what is important to me."

Pay and display machines were reinstated at the council's Bear Street and Hardaway Head car parks on March 31 following a decision by its executive committee on March 6.

The decision was called into the council's overview and scrutiny committee, but no further action was taken, effectively binding the decision.

Council leader Des Brailey said the switch back to pay and display was down to resources.

"I support the barrier system, but what I can't support is 1,800 hours on one car park when we would otherwise spend 3-400," he said.

"From April to September the barrier was either knocked down or removed seven times.

"If we had ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) then just maybe we would be able to do it.

"Clearly there were difficulties and we needed to make a decision because it was costing us thousands of pounds each year.

"It's not cost effective - it's as simple as that. This clearly isn't the best way to run a car park."

Gazette readers had their say on the parking machines last month, with 90 per cent voting to say they would prefer the barrier to be kept.

The council yesterday announced it had appointed Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) to draw up a new parking strategy for the town.