CAR parking charges are to be increased across Mid Devon but shoppers in Cullompton could save on their parking if plans by the town traders' association go ahead.

Mid Devon Council approved the increase, which will see short stay parking rise by 20p and medium stay by 30p, at a recent meeting of its cabinet.

Tiverton mayor Neal Davey, who voted against the proposal, expressed his concern over the increase and said: “My fear is that by putting charges up we could drive people away from the town centre and the impact that could have on business.

“I don't consider the existing charges to be out of line with what similar towns are charging so I don't consider us to be charging a low price at the moment.”

But with a private car park set to be built on the site of the old Magistrates Court in Cullompton, the town's traders' association has a plan that could help shoppers save cash - provided they spend some.

Neil Vaughan, chairman of Cullompton Traders' Association, told the Mid Devon Star: “We believe that increasing car parking charges are a drain on every shopper's resources, so we had a meeting about this and approached the owner of the new car park to suggest that we could refund shoppers for their first hour of parking if they come and use our shops.

“Sometimes you have to think outside the box and work with the general public. There's nothing we can do to stop the council increasing parking charges but we can maybe help them if the car park operators allow us to refund part of those charges.”

Mid Devon Council say the new charges won't be implemented until July at the earliest but declined to comment further.