There are doubts whether drivers parking in a bus-only bay can be fined by civil enforcement officers.

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Last summer motorists were given a ‘period of grace’ and not ticketed in the short term if they parked in the new bus and coach-only spaces in Imperial Road.

The spaces were popular with residents who use the Haldon House Surgery, the Imperial Medical Practice as well as Rowlands Pharmacy.

But they were removed by Devon highways chiefs and designated for the exclusive use of buses.

The change led to confusion as, initially, the sign had gone largely unnoticed.

So highways chiefs allowed time for people to become accustomed to the change, and said enforcement officers in the short term would be warned and not charged.

But six months on it is still unclear whether drivers will be fined for using the spaces or not.

At a recent meeting of the Exmouth Transport Partnership, Geoff Morris said: “It was very busy this morning, with lots of cars parked there.

“There was no room for coaches at all.

“It’s a pity that there wasn’t more of a discussion when these plans were being drawn up.”

Town clerk Colin Poole said: “As far as I know, enforcement officers are still just handing out warnings.

“Whether second offences are being issued, I am not sure.

“It is something we are going to have to chase up.”

He said that the changes were planned several years ago, and since then shops had changed hands and Rowland’s Pharmacy had opened.

“I believe that there was the proper consultation at the time. But it was the passage of time between the decision to do it and actually doing it.

“The goalposts got moved.

“You also have to consider how it will change with the masterplan and potential plans for a transport interchange.”

Partnership member Steve Glover said: “Having spoken to traffic wardens, they won’t prosecute because the bay isn’t marked out correctly any way.”

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