Council considers half price parking and big screen sports for Barnstaple

North Devon Council is looking at ways to increase the footfall in Barnstaple town centre.

North Devon Council is looking at ways to increase the footfall in Barnstaple town centre. - Credit: Archant

Authority hopes new initiatives will increase town centre visitor numbers.

BIG screen sports coverage and half price parking are being touted as ways to increase visitors to Barnstaple town centre.

A three-month pilot scheme to reduce short stay Sunday car parking from £1 to 50p per hour is set to be discussed by council leaders tomorrow (Tuesday).

North Devon Council’s executive committee is also being asked to approve a strategy for Barnstaple Pannier Market to help create a ‘cultural quarter’ in the town.

Coverage of Six Nations rugby matches and Wimbledon finals are just some of the ideas being considered to increase footfall in the town.

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Planning changes to allow different uses of the market and manage access at key times could enable evening performances to take place all year round.

Meanwhile, the half-price car parking initiative would form the backbone of a wider ‘Sunday Campaign’ to promote Barnstaple as ‘open for business’ and enable the town to compete with other destinations such as Exeter.

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Figures show that Sunday is currently a ‘weak’ trading day for the council’s car parks, except leading up to Christmas and when there are events on, such as food and beer festivals.

The report said that retailers were supportive of initiatives to attract shoppers into Barnstaple on Sundays and recommends a car parking reduction takes effect from January 5 to April 13 next year.

It said: “Some but not all traders open on Sundays. Barnstaple is not perceived locally as being ‘open for business’ on Sundays, although competitor destinations such as Exeter are as busy on a Sunday as they are on a Saturday.

“Barnstaple’s car parks are considerably under-capacity on Sundays. It is hoped the trial would be sufficient to alter people’s behaviour.

“Increased footfall should demonstrate to any retailers that currently don’t open on a Sunday the value of doing so.”

If the trial attracted no additional shoppers, the loss to the council would be around £11,400 based on parking trends.

It would cost the council around £3,000 to re-programme the ticket machines and produce temporary stickers advising motorists of the temporary rates.

The strategy to enhance the use of the pannier market proposes no change to current Monday to Saturday market activity.

What do you think about the proposals? Comment below, email tweet us @northdevon24 or find us on Facebook under North Devon Gazette.

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