AppyParking: Harrogate smart parking scheme extended for two years at £72,000 cost
Harrogate's smart parking system has been extended for another two years at a £72,000 cost to taxpayers.
AppyParking uses sensors to give app users a real-time map of available spaces and also allows them to pay for the exact minutes they are parked.
It was launched two years ago as part of a trial and has now been extended until 2023 following positive feedback from users with 93% saying they found it easier than pay and display.
However, take up hasn't been as strong as expected.
There was an aim for 18% of all car parking transactions in Harrogate to be made through AppyParking but this remained steady at around 10% in 2020.
And after the coronavirus outbreak began in March last year, this fell to around 7%.
The two-year extension was agreed by North Yorkshire County Council on Friday following a final approval from Harrogate Borough Council today and will see London-based software company AppyWay handed a £72,000 contract.
The cost will be split between the councils - and there is also an option to extend for a further two years at the same cost.
Councillor Phil Ireland, cabinet member for carbon reduction and sustainability at Harrogate Borough Council, told a meeting today that the "successful" trail had shown there any benefits to both the economy and environment.
He said: "Once parked, people do tend to stay longer as there is no stress having to rush back to feed the meter.
"The environment of course benefits as well because people aren't driving around town several times trying to find a preferred parking space."
Dean Richardson, head of safer communities at Harrogate Borough Council, said in a report that the scheme would need to achieve a 5% take up to cover the council's share of the extension costs.
He added the survey of 627 users had shown 83% agreed that smart parking "alleviates stress normally associated with using a pay and display machine".
Speaking at today's meeting, Harrogate Borough Council leader Richard Cooper said extending the scheme shows the authority is not "anti-car".
He said: "I hear the stuff about us being anti-car and I raise an eyebrow when I consider the fact that you can park for an hour in Tower Street car park in Harrogate town centre for 50p.
"Car parking charges I don't think have been raised in six years, maybe even seven years.
"The talk about us being anti-car is misplaced and this is further evidence for that. It is a significant investment in a cutting-edge parking technology that is also good for the environment."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter