PARKING enforcement officers are to become ambassadors for North Devon Council as part of a new arrangement with Devon County Council.
From April 1 the county council will take control of on-street parking while the district council will retain control of car parks.
The scheme has received criticism from both North Devon Council and Torridge District Council and there are worries the public will be confused as to who to contact with parking enquiries.
But Malcolm Prowse, North Devon Council’s executive member for economic regeneration, said a good thing to have come out of the arrangement is that civil enforcement officers will become ambassadors for the council, particularly during the holiday season.
Martin Williams, procurement and service delivery manager, added: “They do ambassadorial things anyway. We want to show they are still human.
“Where they can help they are more than happy to, and they are being retrained in tourist information.”
Councillor Roger Johnson, deputy leader of Torridge District Council, said it was good the district councils would be purely responsible for their officers.
But he added: “In my mind it was cost effective to the tax payer before and I cannot see that being the case anymore.”
Mr Johnson also said he could see the district councils’ officers being asked to take action over on-street parking issues which were out of their control.
Diana Hill, head of property and technical services at North Devon Council, added: “We are very worried about our officers being wrongly targeted.
“We want people to know it is not as a result of people on our team that wardens cannot help with on-street problems.”
From April 1 on-street and car park fines will have different prefixes on them, each relating to the county council and the district councils respectively.
If a warden in a car park is approached about on-street parking they will be given contact details for the county council.
Mr Williams added: “Our officers are there to assist and give information wherever possible.
“We want them to generally be more a part of the council frontline rather than someone who just issues tickets.”