Councillors will hear how Bear Street and Hardaway Head car parks have not made enough money to pay for new barrier system

A parking barrier pilot scheme in Barnstaple has failed to rise to expectations.

The new ‘pay on foot’ system installed last year at Bear Street and Hardaway Head car parks has not been able to pay for itself and has high running costs.

A report to North Devon Council’s executive on Monday will tell councillors ‘the pilot has not achieved everything it was hoped’.

As a result, it advises not to proceed with plans to expand the system into Queen Street car park.

It had been hoped the barrier system, where people pay for the time they have used, would encourage more people to stay in the town centre.

But to be successful, the pilot needed to achieve minimum growth of £36,000 and this has not happened, instead growing by £12,538.

The report said customers liked the system and the option of paying by card or cash, but there had not been a big move away from traditional pay and display car parks.

There were also higher costs, such as £10,440 to maintain and licence it, compared with £3,872 for pay and display.

It saw electricity costs increase by an unforeseen £1,600, while the extra cost to the council for card transactions in the machine has been £2,212.

There has however been an increase of use in both car parks, growing faster than traditional pay and display sites.

Spaces were taken from Queen Street for the revamped Bear Street site, so the report says in reality the impact on Queen Street has outweighed the benefits of the pay on foot system.

It also costs more in staff time to operate and takes enforcement officers away from other car parks in the area.

The report recommends the barrier system be continued but not expanded for now, with a further report to executive in April 2017.

If the Queen Street site was changed over to barriers, the costs of installing the new equipment would be more than £160,000.

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