A major overhaul of Barnstaple’s parking infrastructure is being held up because of an ‘expensive mistake’ from North Devon Council.
The council’s Barnstaple Car Parking Strategy needs more consultation work done after it emerged no studies into how the town’s car parks were used at night had been carried out.
The initial report was completed in December 2017 following a car parking review undertaken by consultants Hydrock and Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) between April and July that year.
The council’s proposals off the back of the recommendations included a new 800-space multi-storey car park in Bear Street, as well as changing the entrances and exits at Cattle Market and developing Belle Meadow into retirement apartments.
Addressing the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, acting regeneration manager Sally Nelson said the council had approached Hydrock and Jones Lang Lasalle to carry out the extra work.
Councillor Joy Cann said the cost of the fresh consultation was an ‘expensive mistake’ in addition to the spend for the initial work.
Addressing the committee, Ms Nelson said: “We have undertaken a small amount of consultation from the town council, district council and town centre management.
“Amongst other things we had not looked at overnight usage of car parks – that was the message we got back.
“We have gone back to the consultants and asked for a figure to carry out that research.
“I do realise this piece of work is taking longer than anticipated, but I would just stress that if we are going to do anything different with our car parks then we need a really robust plan in place.
“They did the work we commissioned them to do but now we have realised there’s additional work.”
The original report from Hydrock suggested a number of ‘recommendations and opportunities’ for parking in the town, including revisiting pay on exit systems and park and ride facilities – both of which have been scrapped in Barnstaple in the last three years.
The report also recommends the council introduces more smart payments and reviews its long stay parking charges and permits, as well as updating signage around the town.