Free parking at Norwich car park ends after nine months

Student accommodation in Norwich

The Norwich City Council-run Barn Road car park is beneath the Benedicts Gate student accommodation. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

Drivers can no longer park for free at a Norwich car park - after pay machines were finally installed there after a nine month delay.

But the new machines have been hit by a further problem - a technical issue means they cannot currently take card payments.

Since Norwich City Council's Barn Road car park reopened in December - after the Benedicts Gate student accommodation was built above it - motorists have been able to leave their vehicles there without paying.

Pay machines in Barn Road car park in Norwich

Pay machines have been installed at Barn Road car park in Norwich. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

That was because the coronavirus pandemic delayed the installation of a new payment machine in the car park.

While the car park had a board of charges for the car park, where the machines should have been there were just two wires protruding from the floor - so drivers didn't have to pay.

Wires in car park

Drivers had been able to park for free because the pay machines had not been installed. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

But, at the weekend, the city council installed two new pay machines.


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However, drivers will need some coins to buy their tickets, because a technical problem means they are not taking card payments.

Barn Road car park pay machine

The new pay machine in Norwich's Barn Road car park. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “We had planned to have new pay machines installed at Barn Road in December last year, but unfortunately this was pushed back significantly due to impacts of Covid.

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“We took the decision not to close the car park during this delay. We estimate this cost us about £26,500 of expected income, but we feel there was a positive impact on the local economy as a result.

“We are very happy that the machines have now been installed, and had expected them to be fully operational straight away; but unfortunately due to temporary technical issues they are currently unable to take card payments.

"We have spoken to our suppliers, who expect the error to be corrected by the end of the week."

The city council is planning to offer payment by card in more of its surface car parks.

While machines in the three multi-storey car parks run by Norwich City Council accept card payments, those on City Hall's other surface car parks have not, up to now.

The spokesperson said: “We are looking to include cashless parking opportunities at our other surface car parks by the end of the year.”

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