Campaigners are set to meet with Saunton beach operators on Friday to discuss proposals for a new parking barrier system.

Since last week, more than 6,500 people have signed an online petition opposing Saunton Beach Enterprises’ plans to install an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) and charge by the hour instead of a daily rate.

It was proposed to charge £2 for the first hour and £1.50 thereafter, with the rate reduced by half if people bought a £50 season ticket.

Operators Lucie and Paul Tamlyn said it will not be charged 24 hours a day, with parking out of hours continuing to be free.

They say the new system will be cheaper as people only pay for the time they use, but the proposal prompted a backlash on Facebook with the creation of the Saunton Beach Action Group to oppose the scheme.

At a Braunton Parish Council meeting on Monday of last week, around 100 attended to hear councillors vote to recommend refusal for the planning application.

A spokesman for the action group said they hoped to sit down with the Tamlyns on Friday: “This whole thing came as a surprise to most people,” they said.

“If it hadn’t been for a letter sent to around 200 existing season ticket holders, we might not have known until it was too late.”

The group is calling for ‘reasonably priced’ season tickets, a cap on the daily charge, a ‘fair hourly rate’ and operating hours such as 9am-6pm.

In a statement, Paul and Lucie Tamlyn said they were listening to the responses: “Everyone uses the beach in different ways – surfers popping down for a ‘dawnie’, all day visitors, dog walkers, or quick visits with kids after school,” they said.

“Our aim is to introduce the fairest system that can accommodate the variety of users.”

They called on people to email comments to or write to: Saunton Beach Enterprises Ltd, Saunton Sands Beach, EX33 1LG.