Ticket-happy traffic wardens are ‘killing Barnstaple town centre’.

That’s according to Nigel Joy, who has owned ND Joy Autos in Vicarage Lawn for 18 years.

Mr Joy said he had received three parking tickets on cars left outside the garage in a matter of days, having never received a ticket before.

He claimed that the switch in responsibility for on-street from North Devon Council to Devon County Council in April was to blame for the ‘lack of common sense’.

The district council had run the service on behalf of the county since 2008 after the Government transferred parking powers from the police to local councils.

“Devon County Council has taken it over and it’s just a cash cow now,” he said.

“We’ve had a good rapport before with the traffic wardens but this new lot is out with no leniency at all.

“It’s the same all down Bear Street and Boutport Street; people can’t even stop outside their own businesses. It will kill the town centre.”

Paul Louis, owner of Ark Angel in Bear Street, echoed Mr Joy’s sentiments.

“I’ve been unloading outside my shop and got a ticket,” he said.

Mr Joy wrote to North Devon MP Nick Harvey to air his concerns, with Mr Harvey acknowledging the ‘detrimental impact’ on business.

“I think we’re being victimised,” said Mr Joy. “How can you work when you’re always looking over your shoulder?”

Mr Harvey’s reply read: “I hope I may be of some assistance and can confirm that I am making the strongest representations on your behalf with the chief executive of North Devon Council and Devon County Council’s highways department.”

In response to the claims, a DCC spokesman said: “Residents’ parking restrictions have been in place in Vicarage Lawn for some considerable time; the parking and enforcement team regularly visit this location.

“Whilst compliance is generally found to be good, penalty charge notices will be issued to ensure the bays are available for resident permit holders.”

Have you noticed more vigilant traffic wardens in Barnstaple? Email newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk or visit our Facebook page.