Council still reviewing trial but leader is ‘not convinced’ pay-on-exit car parks are the way forward.

A trial of barrier-controlled payment systems in North Devon Council-owned car parks has hit ‘teething problems’.

Pay-on-exit parking was introduced at the Bear Street and Hardaway Head car parks in Barnstaple in January.

But council leader Des Brailey said he was ‘not convinced’ that this was the way forward for other car parks in the district.

“We’ve had one or two barrier failures and technical issues,” he said.

“Barriers have been intentionally damaged and there was one instance where people had removed barriers, hence my reticence about the value of them.

“We are still reviewing the situation; I’m not knocking it completely.”

Mr Brailey said the council was now looking into different ways of paying, including the possibility of people being able to use a credit card.

“The idea is in its infancy at the moment but it is one option we are looking at to ensure value for money for everybody,” he said.

Since the barrier system has been running there have been 39,024 transactions, but the council said it was too early to gauge their success compared to other car parks.

Martin Williams, the council’s procurement and service delivery manager, said: “We did have some initial teething problems with the new pay-on-foot car parks.

“These were primarily to do with mechanical and electrical issues. However, these problems have mainly been resolved.

“It is too early to gauge the affect of these car parks in relation to surrounding car parks as it is the summer months and Christmas when they will come into their own.

“It is always good when we can offer the customers improved services and here we can offer payment after the customer returns to the car and they can then pay with coins, cards or notes.”