County bosses have denied that year-round seafront parking charges were introduced ‘under false pretences’.

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County bosses have denied that year-round seafront parking charges were introduced ‘under false pretences’.

Stuart Yerrell, a member of Budleigh Salterton’s traffic forum, says when they were consulted on introducing parking meters in 2010, it was only for charging between May and September.

He said that only summer charging was also in the original traffic order - which county hall must legally publish before any changes are made.

But the highways chief, Councillor Stuart Hughes, this week told the Journal they axed plans for seasonal charging before the traffic order was published.

The accusation is the latest development following a petition to remove the meters - which has now attracted 1,200 signatures.

The meters were installed in September and campaigners expressed their concerns about the effect on trade at a town council meeting soon after, but county councillor Christine Channon told that meeting they should have objected when the original traffic order was advertised in November 2010.

In a letter to Mr Hughes, Mr Yerrell said: “…the meters have been installed for year-round use, rather than the five-month window, which was advertised and on which there was consultation.

“It looks as though due process was not followed. I cannot find evidence of a later traffic order relating to Marine Parade, other than an amendment concerning the provision of residents’ parking permits…

“It appears that the parking meters on Marine Parade were installed under false pretences and are currently being operated illegally. I imagine anyone issued with a penalty charge notice… would have a strong case for redress.”

Councillor Hughes conceded that initially they considered charging only over the summer months, in line with the original waiting restrictions.

This was suggested at the original traffic group meeting in 2010.

But following a request from the town council, charging was introduced all year, and this was included in the final traffic order, which was advertised.

He said: “There have never been seasonal pay and display restrictions, or an advertisement for such restrictions, at Marine Parade and Coastguard Hill.”

He added that they did change the traffic order once it had been printed, but only to introduce a residents permit scheme for Marine Parade residents.

He added: “To allow the introduction of an exemption to pay and display for residents, we were required to re-advertise the pay and display order, which we subsequently did in April 2012.”

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