Users of sports facilities near Barnstaple’s Tarka Tennis Centre are being asked to park more considerately.

It comes after an ambulance was unable to reach an injured football player at the new artificial grass pitch at Seven Brethren.

The addition of the new football pitch has led to an increase in visitors at Tarka Tennis. Users are being asked to park in the nearby Seven Brethren car park rather than on the double yellow lines along the access road.

The problem was highlighted when a footballer was injured on the new pitch and required an ambulance.

The emergency vehicle was unable to get through as a car had parked in front of the emergency access gate.

North Devon Council said it was not the first time an ambulance has been unable to access the facilities.

Falcons Gymnastics coach Mike Beagley fears the safety of children using the gymnastics centre is being put at risk.

He said: "The safety of the children is absolutely paramount and I am concerned a serious accident may occur due to inconsiderate parking.

"If one of the children were to get hurt, it could mean the end of a promising gymnastics career. So please bear this in mind and park sensibly even if it means a five minute walk from the car."

North Devon Council leader, Councillor David Worden, has appealed to those using the facilities to park sensibly.

"This is an important matter of public safety and I appeal to the users of Tarka Tennis centre, Falcons Gymnastics and others who also use the facility such as football, running and badminton clubs, to please park sensibly, with more consideration for other users," he said.

"There is no excuse for parking irresponsibly, endangering the safety of young sports people and blocking routes for the emergency services."

David Lesslie, operations manager for Tarka Tennis Centre, said: "It is fantastic to see our facilities being so busy and popular. My concern is that with so many people visiting the site at peak times, the car parking situation has become a real issue due to car parking in non-designated areas.

"We strongly encourage all users who cannot find a space at Tarka to park at Seven Brethren, as it is only a short walk away."