NEW parking charges have been agreed for Mid Devon, giving residents a greater variety of time options.

Long-stay car parks in Cullompton, Crediton and Tiverton will have a wider choice of tariffs for residents, with a 6.7 per cent increase in fees.

The proposals, likely to be enacted in the coming weeks, were initially agreed by Mid Devon District Council’s economy policy development group, and have now been ratified by the cabinet.

Councillor James Buczkowski (Liberal Democrat, Cullompton St Andrew’s) said the car park working group had canvassed the opinions of business owners and community representatives across its towns to ensure its proposals had support.

Leader Luke Taylor (Liberal Democrat, Bradninch) said this was “fantastic” and showed that his administration “was working with people who are directly involved” in council decisions.

“It cannot be said we aren’t listening and taking on the views of those people,” he added.

Shoppers in Crediton High Street car park (St Saviour’s Way), where only two, five, 10 and 24-hour tariffs are available, one-hour through to five hours will be on offer as well as 10-and 24-hour tariffs.

Tiverton’s Wellbrook Street and Market Place will also benefit from additional choices.

While this could reduce the price of parking for some – particularly those who previously had to pay for two hours but only wanted one – the prices of each time-band will rise.

Two-hour charges are £2.70 presently, but will rise to £2.90.

Increased charges were implemented last June, having been agreed by the former Conservative-led administration in March. The Lib Dems took control of the authority in the May election.

Mid Devon District Council’s economy policy development group heard last month of concerns about those previous rises because of a “lack of input” from local representatives.

Councillor Steve Keable (Liberal Democrat, Taw Vale), cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said this time the changes had been done “in consultation with local communities”.

He continued: “The car parking charges we inherited [from the Conservatives] seemed to be odd and random, lacking in common sense.

“People who wanted to pop into their town centre for half-an-hour were facing parking charges that started at two hours.”

Cllr Keable said an inflationary rise had been included on time tariffs that already existed.

Elsewhere, the cabinet also endorsed free parking on five Saturdays before Christmas in Tiverton’s multi-storey car park, Crediton High Street and Cullompton’s Station Road. These will run from Saturday, November 23 to Saturday, December 21.

Bradley Gerrard