North Devon car park price hikes plan put on hold

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image captionCouncillors have delayed a decision on raising parking charges at tourist destinations in North Devon

Plans to raise prices at some car parks in Devon this summer have been put on hold pending a new report.

North Devon Council previously recommended charging 40p more per hour at some coastal car parks, potentially raising £118,000.

A new working group has now been set up, after a "roadmap" for easing Covid restrictions was announced by the prime minister.

The council said the roadmap gave it "a bit more time" to consider price hikes.

The car parks which face the new charges are the Pier, Cove, Marine Drive, and Hele car parks in Ilfracombe, as well as in Croyde and Mortehoe, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

In summer 2020, the area experienced high numbers of visitors when the first Covid-19 lockdown was lifted, with some roads to coastal resorts being blocked by parked cars.

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image captionHele Car Park in Ilfracombe is one of four car parks where charges could rise

Ken Miles, the council's chief executive, said car parking income for this financial year had dropped £1.8m against targets, and the council faced a £600,000 drop in income.

"It is common that if trying to discourage parking in a certain area then the parking charges are higher," he said.

David Worden, leader of the council, said: "The loss of income is something we are concerned about and we are likely to get a lot more tourists to North Devon because of the pandemic."

Following the release of the roadmap, holidays in self-contained accommodation with members of the same household will not resume until at least 12 April, while hotels, hostels and B&Bs are not set to reopen until at least 17 May.

"The roadmap has made it clear when we can expect the car parks to be busier, so we do have a bit more time to consider the concerns raised and the potential impact of increasing charges," Mr Miles added.

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