Smart parking system to be developed for Northallerton

This story was published 17 December 2021

A smart parking option that would allow drivers to pay via a phone app and for exactly the period for which they parked is being developed for Northallerton’s High Street.

Northallerton High Street

A similar system has been operating successfully for several years in Harrogate, where drivers report it is easier, saves time and encourages them to stay longer because they don’t have to worry about a pay and display ticket expiring.

Our Executive Members for Business and Environmental Services approved continued development of the Northallerton scheme when they met today (Friday 17 December) to consider a review of parking on part of the High Street.

With smart parking, drivers would use an app on their phone to locate an unoccupied space and to pay, with no need to use cash or a bankcard. The parking session would end automatically when the driver left the space, meaning that they pay for the time they use.

Development of the Northallerton project will involve engaging with businesses and other stakeholders.

As the first stage, we expect to install sensors in parking bays next spring. An additional benefit of the sensors is that they will provide data that can identify shifts in parking demand and longer-term trends, which can inform future decisions.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Our experience in Harrogate has demonstrated the numerous benefits a smart parking option can offer. These include, first and foremost, an overall improved experience for the customer. We have also seen evidence of benefits to the local economy and the environment and financial benefits to both users and the local authority.

“With this experience to build on, the County Council is developing its own infrastructure and business model for providing smart parking services. Introducing the system in Northallerton will provide residents and visitors with greater choice and flexibility when paying for parking, allowing them and the town centre businesses they are supporting to benefit from a more effective parking operation.

“In the longer term, we intend to introduce smart parking throughout the county where we operate on-street pay and display parking and, potentially, within other limited waiting areas, such as busy disc parking zones.”

Councillors took the decision to move ahead with the smart parking scheme after considering a review of on-street parking on the High Street, Northallerton. Following a petition in 2020 from Northallerton Business Improvement District (BID) calling for the existing free parking period to be extended from 30 minutes to two hours, councillors had previously resolved that the existing pay and display system on the High Street remained appropriate. However, they agreed to investigate the potential for increasing the free parking time allowance on the section of High Street north of Friarage Street.

Analysis of parking and enforcement data concluded that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that parking or traffic management would benefit from increasing the free parking allowance north of Friarage Street. The review also noted the extensive and varied parking available in Northallerton, the range and scale of which was considered to be very good for a market town of its size.

The Executive members agreed that the existing pay and display parking operation on High Street remain unchanged as it is in line with established parking policy, which is to encourage off-street parking as a first choice. One-hour free parking is already available in the nearby Applegarth off-street car park and providing the same time allowance on the High Street would be contrary to the parking strategy.