HALF price parking will be introduced in Barnstaple from January with other plans such as big screen televisions and a new ‘cultural quarter’ in the pipeline for the town.
The news comes after a series of items were discussed by North Devon Council’s Executive on Tuesday.
One item recommended that members recognise Barnstaple’s economic potential as a priority for the council and update the town’s corporate plan to reflect this.
Councillor Malcolm Prowse commented: “If we are going to compete with Exeter we need to recognise Barnstaple’s regional role.”
It was agreed to go along with the recommendation with the addition from councillor Rodney Cann that areas surrounding Barnstaple, such as Roundswell, also be recognised.
Members also discussed a Pannier Market strategy to attracts shoppers and visitors to the town and create a ‘cultural quarter’ centred around the Pannier Market, Butchers Row and the Queens Theatre.
Plans include showing Six Nations rugby matches on a big screen as well as the Wimbledon men’s final along with offering deck chair seating, Pimms, strawberries and cream.
Ellen Vernon, economic development manager, stressed there was no suggestion of ceasing the current market activities that take place in the Pannier Market.
“This is about how we can use the building outside of those times,” she said.
Councillor Prowse commented: “We are really lucky to have such a huge covered open space. Let’s make the most of it. I think it is a really exciting opportunity.”
But councillor Faye Webber said: “In principle I agree and we have been saying this for yonks. It’s not about talking about it, it’s about making it happen and I wonder if Ellen would come back with a further report showing how that can happen?”
Members agreed to move forward with the strategy and undertake specific actions required to make it happen.
Also proposed as a way of bringing shoppers to the town was the idea of reducing parking on a Sunday from £1 to 50p on a Sunday.
A report produced before the meeting stated Barnstaple’s car parks are "considerably under-capacity on Sundays."
The financial loss of the plan could be up to £11,407.73 if the scheme generates no extra shoppers.
But councillor Prowse commented: “I am pretty sure we will make that money up and more.”
Members agreed to run the trial starting on January 5, 2014.