Parking meters covered up after blunder with new tariff signs
NEW parking meters have been withdrawn from service after a council blunder.
The meters are being installed across Torbay under new parking regulations.
But highways officers have been forced to cover the meters with black bin bags because they are technically illegal.
It is because parking signs have not yet been updated with the new terms.
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Parking in the affected roads is still free and the council is asking residents who may have already paid for tickets to ask for a refund.
A spokesman said: "No enforcement will take place until each site has been checked and audited."
The mistake was spotted by eagle-eyed resident William Ward, of Torquay.
He saw the discrepancy while walking along Lymington Road and flagged it up with parking services on Monday, May 7.
He said: "It seems to they were so desperate for the cash, they got the meters in place and the road markings but had not changed the signs.
"It seems sad that it takes an old fool like me to point out breaches of the road traffic regulations."
The meters were covered with black bin bags when the blunder came to light.
Now Mr Ward wants any cash refunded to go to charity.
He said: "The RNLI lifeboat would be my suggestion."
The meters have been put in place at seven areas across the Bay.
The plans were approved by the council in January.
The areas are:
Pimlico/Lymington Road, Torquay
Magdalene Road, Torquay
Babbacombe Road, Torquay
Newton Road, Torquay
Sands Road, Paignton
Steartfield Road, Paignton
Adelphi Road, Paignton.
A Torbay Council spokesman said: "We would ask all drivers who think they may have been wrongly charged to make an appeal.
"On-street pay-and-display is being introduced along a section of Lymington Road and a number of other locations in Torbay. The meters have been installed and in most circumstances so have the lines but the signs have not yet been completed.
"There was a short period of time where some of the meters were uncovered. We have now covered all of the meters over until all the signage and lines have been completed."
Cllr Darren Cowell, ward councillor for Tormohun which covers Lymington Road, said he flagged up the issue with highways manager Patrick Carney.
He said: "My concern is drivers may have been paying into the machines when they should not have been and it is going to be almost impossible to identify all of those people who have lost out."