PEOPLE in Tavistock and the surrounding villages are being urged to respond urgently to a county council consultation over its plans to introduce ‘pay and display’ meters in the town centre.

BID (Business Improvement District) manager Janna Sanders has been spearheading the campaign to ‘Stop the Meters’ ever since the unpopular proposal was first mooted by Devon County Council. She is imploring all those who shop in town to make their feelings known by January 7, when the consultation ends.

The BID and Tavistock Town Council are worried about the effect it will have on the town centre of Tavistock, its traders and local shoppers.

At the moment people can park for free for an hour in bays in Duke Street, Brook Street and West Street, which Tavistock BID and the town council say works well and allows for a good turnover of shoppers.

Janna met with Devon County Council back in September, stating that the new policy would deter locals in nearby villages from nipping into town for their shopping.

Despite this, DCC has announced that it is pressing ahead with proposals to install meters. In response to the concerns raised, the first hour will be free, but shoppers will still have to buy a ticket.

Janna said: “This will really dramatically affect the town centre. People will not use the town centre in the same way. We need people to act now and have their say and let Devon County Council know how they feel about it.

She added that her message was “please if you don’t want to pay for parking, please have your say and just remember that even if it is free you still have to get a ticket and that will affect the use of the town centre”.

She said that the proposal for shoppers to park for up to two hours, the second to be paid for, would stop the current turnover of shoppers in the free slots.

“DCC has not provided any evidence to justify these proposals nor has it conducted an impact study to show why the current system needs to change or how the imposition of charges would affect our community. Visitors will be required to find a machine and get a ticket, even if they intend to park for less than an hour. This will change the ease with which people visit the town centre.”

Tavistock town mayor Andy Hutton also urged people to fill in the consultation and oppose the change.

“The county council is doing this to make money. They have not consulted and they are trying to force it on us and I think it is very important that the people of Tavistock speak out and say that they don’t want this.”

Make your views known to the county council at by January 7.