Free hour’s parking used by 7,000 a month

New ticket machines in Eastgate car parkr. EMN-190412-162046001
New ticket machines in Eastgate car parkr. EMN-190412-162046001

The installation of new car parking machines in Eastgate Car Park in April this year has not only allowed users to pay parking charges using a credit or debit card, it also provides a range of information to the town council.

Data for the six months since April to September shows around 7,000 users a month are benefitting from the free one hour’s parking offered by the town council on Mondays to Saturdays (the car park is free on Sundays). This equates to over 250 vehicles per day.

Councillors hope the one hour free parking is helping parents dropping off and picking up children at nearby schools and those needing to pop into town for shopping or medical appointments.

Over 42,000 free one hour tickets have been issued in the six months; with a quarter of the 28,000 tickets issued for short and long stay periods paid for by debit/credit card.

Councillors are pleased to see the take up of card payment is proving successful, helping car park users avoid the need to carry change.

Plans are now being finalised for a major refurbishment of Eastgate Car Park in 2020, costing up to £300,000.

The authority says work is expected to take up to six weeks and as well as a complete resurface, drainage repairs and relining, parking space sizes will be increased and the layout changed to create a better flow.

This will mean a reduction of 25 spaces but the council hope it will improve the overall parking experience.

Councillors will be reviewing parking charges in the New Year, as well as potential charging points for electric vehicles.